What is Low-Brow Marketing?

In a time where advertisers are pushing to get the most viewers, and therefore, consumers, as possible, many have resorted to low-brow marketing. This is a type of marketing intended to grab viewers’ attention and persuade them to purchase the item or service being advertised. There are many ways to appeal to the more base nature of humanity, and several of these are humorous in nature. Picture the most memorable commercials during any Super Bowl game — they likely used low-brow marketing to become so memorable.

Common Archetypes in Low-Brow Marketing

There are ten common themes used in low-brow marketing: babies, physical humor, animals, sexual innuendo, fear, battle of the sexes, patriotism, hunger, celebrity cameos, and explicit material. You can probably think of a recent commercial in nearly every category. Think about it the next time you are watching TV, and see if you can identify any. For example, Nationwide has a commercial where a man is shown lovingly taking care of his giant baby, then runs to comfort it after hitting a fire hydrant, only to discover his “baby” is a car. Snickers also uses this technique in multiple ways with their commercials. Betty White has a cameo in one of the commercials showing how hunger leads to ineffective soccer playing.

Why Use Low-Brow Marketing?

Obviously, advertisers use low-brow marketing because it works. The more consumers laugh at a commercial and remember it, the more likely they are to buy from those brands. By hitting on things that will make most people laugh, they are appealing to more than just their target audience. On the other hand, using a celebrity endorsement may be a way to appeal to a specific audience who may or may not have already been using their product. As with all marketing, the reason why you use low-brow marketing will depend upon what the company wants or needs. Additionally, all advertising comes down to time. Commercials are roughly thirty seconds, and advertisers must grab consumers as quickly as possible. An easy way to do this is to employ low-brow marketing themes. When E-Trade commercials come on, you are immediately confronted by a baby genius who manages his stocks better than almost any adult you know. The more people talk about this baby who does the cutest commercial, the more people who are going to the E-Trade website and signing up for services. This low-brow marketing scheme has led to word of mouth advertising, which is huge for companies because they do not have to pay for it.

Low-brow marketing is a go-to choice for advertisers because it gets the attention of consumers and leads to increased sales. Slapstick comedy has been a favorite of comedians and viewers for a long time, so it is only natural that these techniques are what get our attentions and keep us loyal to brands, which is clearly what advertisers want. Take care to watch commercials with these themes in mind, and see if you can spot the low-brow marketing in play in your favorite ads.

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