Cards Against Humanity is known for their ridiculous marketing stunts that seem to just make no sense. They once made $500,000 by selling nothing, and even raised over $100,573 in donations to dig the biggest hole they possibly could.
Their Super Bowl marketing scheme, however, is one of the craziest – and funniest – things I’ve ever seen.
The company aired a commercial in the Midwest during the pregame, and it was literally just a single potato with the word “ADVERTISEMENT” written on it. That was it. No music, no movement, no glitz, no glamour. A sole potato, sitting in front of a single camera, for 30 seconds.
Of course, nobody had any idea what was going on at the time, and Twitter was filled with confused tweets about what everyone just saw.
Did I just watch a 30 sec #SuperBowl commercial with a potato and the word “advertisement” written on it?!?
— Rufio on KISSFM (@RufioRadio) February 5, 2017
— Sports Fan (@crzFan4lf) February 5, 2017
After the big game, Cards Against Humanity came out with a blog post on Medium admitting to creating the advertisement, and explaining their “thinking” behind it. (Of course, this was just the follow-up joke to create an intricate story of hilarity that only Cards Against Humanity could pull off).
The post displayed stories of advertising agencies, graphs about consumer preference of potatoes, and even the process behind choosing the right potato for the ad. Of course, nobody knew what the ad was about, so it didn’t do much to gain attention for the company when it aired.
“While we succeeded creatively, the advertisement showed a disappointing return on investment ($0), and we are now going out of business.”
(They’re not really going out of business.)
Cards Against Humanity then closed with a message on what they were really going for in their entire marketing scheme, from ad to follow-up post:
“At Cards Against Humanity, we believe that you can only become a master by trying and failing. In this way, failure is life’s greatest teacher; failure is actually success. At Cards Against Humanity, we fail all the time. We are veterans of failure. And constant failure, plus unlimited capital, is what led us to greatness.”
What was seen as a confusing and stupid commercial is now being heralded on the Twitterverse as brilliant and amazing.
— Incredible Web (@incredible_web) February 6, 2017
— Megan Andersen (@Megowhitz) February 6, 2017
I don’t know if this “new form” of advertising will catch on, but for a company as out-of-the-box as Cards Against Humanity? Yea, it totally works.