I’m home sick today. A sick day at home means I’m pretty incapable of getting off the couch. I’ve got my TV and Xbox remotes within striking distance, and my phone and iPad sitting next to my chicken noodle soup. As I’m channel surfing I come across a show called The Talk that makes me feel even more nauseated but I’m intrigued because they’re giving away Marie Callender’s pies for Pi Day. That’s clever, I think, it makes sense that Marie Callender’s is all over Pi Day for marketing. Bored, I shut off the TV and see what’s happening on Twitter. More pi. And somehow the content marketing pi seems way worse than the traditional pi(e) advertising on TV. As I scroll through the Tweets, I can visualize the content calendars and a bunch of marketers sitting there thinking, “Hmm, what’s in between the Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s Day? Let’s look at a list of ridiculous holidays more offensive than the “Hallmark” Holidays, ok, perfect 3-14 is Pi Day!”
I was actually not too put off scrolling through the Tweets as many of them were cute or made sense. Of course Zagat should be talking about Pi Day and I’ll give a pass to one of my favorite chefs, Susan Feniger. Obama’s team is even in on it over on Facebook, he’s got the cleverest team out there rivaling Oreo’s marketing, so they both get a pass with their elegant pi messages. But it was Huff Post Queen Arianna Huffington who crossed the line; from then on out va used Pi Day to promote an article in a similar manner, but it was a clever angle and had a bit more thought behind it. Google and Slate were similarly thoughtless and lazy.
This big pi-eating-content-marketing-contest 2013 was a good reminder that if you follow a calendar or jump on a meme bandwagon, you can’t do it thoughtlessly or you’ll risk losing your audience as they see through your heartless mechanical campaigns. Participate creatively, and ideally make sure that the theme is in your brand’s wheelhouse. My favorite Pi messages of the day belonged to #applenav and #guggenheim, their brands arguably had nothing to do with math or pie but a clever joke helps a spoonful of content go down.
Did you have a favorite Pi Day tweet? Any leave you scratching your head?
And now for that soup and a paperback book.