Does your content need more Snap, Crackle and Pop?

13 Flares 13 Flares ×

Last week’s news that brand icon Mr. Clean is growing his first mustache to raise awareness of men’s health issues caught my eye on a few levels. My first thought: What does Mrs. Clean think of this? My wife always bristles at my seasonal winter beard, waking me with razor in hand on the first morning of spring. At least Mr. Clean is letting his fur fly for a good cause to support the Movember movement – I just do it for the natural cold-weather face mask. And just to look more bad ass. OK fine, I do it to razz my wife.

But I digress. What does this have to do with PR?

According to Mashable, Mr. Clean is "the only North American icon to become an ambassador for Movember." That's taking some liberties with the word "icon," but interesting nonetheless that he's such a trailblazer. Here's where his stache is as of Friday, according to his Mustache O' Meter on his Facebook page. This got me thinking....what would other iconic commercial characters look like with facial hair. Let's find out, shall we?....

If you think about it, the good folks at ol’ Mr. Clean are really screwing with a sacred cow.  Whoever walked into the CEO’s office with this stache idea definitely had some cojones. I imagine it went something like this: “Say boss, you know that iconic image we’ve been carefully cultivating over the last 70 years? Well, wouldn’t it just be a hoot if we suddenly drew a funny mustache on him? Great idea, right?” There are two likely outcomes here: Either a nice big pat on the back and a spot bonus or a security escort out of the building.

But it turns out Mr. Clean is actually a pretty popular social media figure. He’s got over 170,000 followers on Facebook. What I like is how his voice comes off as just another regular guy. To wit: “A lot of people are wondering if Movember is cleaning related. Well, it means fewer hairs clogging up the sink, so there’s that.” 138 people ‘liked’ that one stupid status update. I had no idea people could be so passionate about fake cleaning solvent salesmen.

Hmm, the Jolly Green Giant looks kind of dashing with the pencil thin Mo, don't you think? I wish I had our graphics designer put a rose in his mouth as well. (BTW, thanks Ilena Ryan. Not everyone handed with an assignment to go draw mustaches on cartoon characters would have taken me as seriously.)

So why is Mr. Clean’s mustache mojo resonating? I think it’s because his voice is just inherently human. We as communications professionals tend to mutate into our stiff-as-nails, take-no-chances, please-the-man professional voices the minute we march through the office doors every morning. We effectively lock away our inner Mr. Clean for the day.

But your human voice is dying to come out and play in your day job. Why not humor it a little? Fear of repercussions? Perhaps. More likely fear of change. It’s always the way we’ve done things, and our jobs are deadly serious business.

So apparently there are three types of facial hair configurations that are in direct violation of official Movember guidelines. I decided to take Snap, Crackle and Pop and violate all three. I now know why they are violations. They look kinda creepy. Click for a closer view if you dare.

And that’s why 67.3% of the content companies churn out every day still kinda sucks. (Don’t quote me on that, I just kind of made that up.) The Cluetrain Manifesto came out over a dozen years ago, and yet company XYZ is still excited/thrilled/happy-as-pie to announce the release of widget 5.3.

We need to be more human with our content. Or at least as human as the audience we are trying to specifically reach.  Let your inner Mr. Clean freak flag fly, take some swings, be ok with the misses and don’t be afraid of yourself and your own thoughts.

OK, I know that mullets don't have anything to do with facial hair, but I was dying to know what Mullet Michelin Man would look like. And now the mystery is over. You're welcome.

And who knows, perhaps you’ll find just a bit more joy in your work. I just wrote a corporate blog post that defaced five corporate icons and included the words ‘screws,’ ‘cojones,’ ‘ass’ and ‘sucks’ in it, and it was kind of liberating. More importantly, I’d like to think I made a salient point at the same time. So experiment with a little Snap, Crackle and Pop in your content creation next time in whatever form it may take and see what happens.

As for me, I’m looking over my shoulder hoping security doesn’t show up, just in case.