In this series of posts I aim to bring to light off-beat stories from the world of marketing, ranging from serious successes to downright abysmal failures. This week at the risk of getting stuck in a rut, I want to tell you about another brand that has caught my attention. It’s called “The Brown Corporation” and it sells “lightweight portable cardboard toilets”. This might sound like a joke but I think it’s another example of the marvel of marketing and branding.
Intrinsically their three products are glorified Kleenex boxes lined with bio-degradable bags. But if that’s all there was to it, I’d like to think they wouldn’t be able to charge over £15 per unit. So where does the value come from? Admittedly, the unmet consumer need they’ve struck upon is a real one and there must be legions of festival-goers and adventurers who are grateful that they will never again have to take Lawrence Oates’s famous last words in vain. But above all, I think they grant themselves the right to a premium by having a personality and expressing the kind of blatantly provocative humour their target will identify with. Everything they do is on-brand. Just take a look at their website and their product names: the standard “Shit Box,” a “Little Jack’s Box” for kids and the more P.C. “Ploo” whose design is safe enough “to show your mum”.
The brand is just brimming with humour and is clearly positioned at people who are willing to take life a bit less seriously. And ultimately it’s that extrinsic value of the brand as much as the products themselves that consumers will love and open their wallets for.