There’s a joy wave afoot, and every marketer from here to Timbuktu is trying to get in on the action. We get it. We’re in the midst of the Great Recession, people are gloomy, and if you’re going to flog more sportscars or soda or chiclets right now pretty much the only way to do it is to sweep us off our feet in a haze of good cheer. But all cheery marketing campaigns are not created equal.
“A little piece of happy” should be joyful. After all, that’s one way to define what joy is: little pieces of happiness. But this campaign isn’t joyful. Some of the items are entertaining, like the happy news feed and the Pandora playlist. Others are just dumb, like the pic of the chihuahua wearing goggles or the image of the two starfish holding hands (the caption reads “star crossed lovers” — har har). But my real problem with it is that it just seems like a novelty, a gimmick — all talk, no real emotion. Just because it’s timed to the recession with a peppy vibe doesn’t make it a winner. Would you visit this site more than once or twice? Would you post it on your facebook page or send it to half your address book? Do you now suddenly feel a rush of delight every time you chew a piece of the same old Trident?
I think this campaign is joywashing — the shameless use of happiness or joy to convince us to buy more stuff. Real joy is deep, repeatable, and contagious. And unless there’s something special in the formula, it doesn’t come from a stick of gum.July 2nd, 2009