Want your marketing to go viral? Think weirder.

Robin Emiliani  /  Jan 06, 2021

How to get your marketing to go viral

Ryan Reynolds is at it again, with another two-ad series that has skyrocketed to viral fame.

Last time, he took advantage of public outrage about a sexist Peloton ad. This time, he’s surprised and thrilled us all with two ads for Match.com that turn 2020 on its head, posing the question: If 2020 was looking for a date, who would she match with?

The answer: Satan.

(Cue lightning strike.)

The whole thing starts in Hell, where a bored Satan is shocked to find he’s made a match. Cut to Central Park, where we learn that match is 2020.

“So, where are you from?” She asks.

“Hell,” he answers.

Me too,” she coos.

And so we’re off to the races, with romantic background music playing as vignettes of all the things that made 2020 Hell Year for the rest of us make the same year perfect for our brand-new couple, who picnic in empty stadiums, do yoga in empty gyms, and raid a public bathroom for its toilet paper stores.

A little over a minute in, the two sit on a park bench overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge.

“I just don’t want this year to end,” he says, wistful.

“Who would?” She answers as a series of flaming objects rain down from the sky (presumably the comets that will complete this year’s apocalypse).

The final message? Scratch 2020 if you were looking for love. Make 2021 your year.

The YouTube video, unsurprisingly, has more than 3.5 million views. On Instagram, that number is 8 million.

And Reynolds didn’t stop there.

Match.com made real profiles on the site for 2020 and Satan. Satan’s relationship status? Currently separated (from God). Body type? Goat-like. Smoking status? Yes, literally. 2020 says the thing she most wants to change in the world is handshakes.

Then came a second ad that gave us still more dark humor about The Year of Our Lady Chaos, this time in the form of a mock success story.

“I started out using the Match custom filter,” says Satan. “I filtered out joy, happiness, toilet paper…and reason.”

And yet again we’re all-in on the joke as Satan sits there deadpan and 2020 points to herself with pride, saying “Boom.”

At the end text flashes across the screen: Make 2020 your year. And then 2020 explodes in a puff of smoke, replaced by 2021. Because, duh, 2020 is Satan’s soulmate and we’re all just hoping they’ll ride off into the sunset and leave us to put the world back together in 2021.

So, what can we learn from Reynold’s latest spot of brilliance?

There are probably a lot of takeaways. But here’s one that jumps out at us:

Weird is a winning strategy.

Now, we don’t mean you should go so far away from normal that you can’t find it with a map. (See: Tinder for dogs.)

But we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Brains love novelty. And novelty means weird.

Weird like Nike teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s.

Weird like Elon Musk’s short shorts.

Weird like embracing Satan’s romance with dumpster-fire-selfie-taking 2020.

So, what are the novel (read: weird) ways you could market your business to the world? What partnerships, ideas, concepts, and stories can you embrace that subvert traditional expectations? How can you use novelty to make us think, make us laugh, make us sit up and pay attention to your brand?

If you’re not sure, we’d love to help. Embracing the weirdness of creativity is our specialty.


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