How to strategically drop the F-bomb in business

Sometimes, whether you like it or not, there’s nothing like the F-word to get an audience’s attention.

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I am not usually a fan of curse words. As a dad with two young boys, I’ve become especially conscious of them as I try desperately to help my oldest make it to his seventh birthday without trying it out in conversation. We’re just a few weeks away.

Still, for some time I’ve been thinking that it may have an underestimated value when it comes to marketing. The first time I thought about this was when reading about a wonderful social marketing campaign from Saatchi and Saatchi that was done close to 20 years ago. It was for an organization fighting childhood hunger on the streets in Canada (I think), and as the ad featured visuals of young homeless boys on the street just trying to survive, the following voice-over of a boy’s voice came on:

“If I said I’m hungry, that probably wouldn’t bother you.”
“If I said f*ck, it probably would.”
“F*ck, I’m hungry.”

Those three simple lines stuck with me. At once they were a sad reminder of how desensitized we can get from the real issues in our world, and how we tend to focus our attention on the wrong things.

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