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“Did You Mean MailChimp?” - what we can learn from the world’s wackiest marketing campaign

What We Can Learn From MailChimp’s Wackiest Marketing Campaign
February 9, 2018 Ronin Marketing

If you haven’t yet crossed paths with the mega marketing campaign released by world-renowned emailing platform, MailChimp, early last year, then please, allow us to enlighten you.

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Taking a wonderfully weird name and reproducing it x9.

It all started when a young girl mispronounced their name on a popular podcast series (she said “mailkimp”). Cute, huh? MailChimp decided they would capitalise on this little blunder by building an impressive (yet semi-reckless) campaign. So they partnered with New York’s leading digital advertising agency, Droga5, to create “Did you mean MailChimp?”.

“We’re not so concerned with what people call us. We’d much rather show you who we are… We believe the best way to build relationships with customers, fans, or anyone else is to be yourself. For us, that means having some fun with our name.”

The campaign kicked off with the introduction of nine slightly absurd but intriguing products, services and short films that all rhyme(ish) with MailChimp. Each was granted their own website – all of which feature MailChimp’s famous monkey logo and a few cheeky links back to the real domain. They also set up a paid advertising campaign, to lead anyone searching Google for the services back to MailChimp.

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Bizarre, yet strategic.

While each of these concepts seem ridiculously random and thrown together, they were not. Droga5 and MailChimp did their research. You see, being an email marketing platform that literally anybody with a business can get onboard with, their target demographic was pretty widespread. They were fishing from a pretty big pond. They knew that to catch the most fish, they needed to throw in as many lines, from as many different boats, as possible. So they looked into the latest trends, events and product releases around the U.S. (yes, snail secretion skin care is a real thing) and matched their ideas up, to ensure they’d reach as many different audiences as possible. Then they added a healthy dash of eccentricity and walah! The interest came streaming in.

“We had the intention that people may organically come across one or two parts of the campaign, piquing their interest enough that they would want to dig deeper.”

And it worked.

The song “Hymn” was streamed over 1.5 million times, FailChips were sold in hundreds of stores across 10 cities, MaleCrimp scored a pop-up spot at New York Fashion Week, the NailChamp comp was featured in Teen Vogue, and the three short-films (MailShrimp/KaleLimp/JailBlimp) played in 200+ art theatres around the country.

Prior to this, MailChimp’s most successful campaign rallied in a total of 36 million website viewers. This one cracked 334 mill in the first few months.

“Social sentiment has been hugely positive, and the few times people are not loving it, they actively hate it… They think it’s either the best thing or the worst thing. And I’m proud of that. I love that no one was like, meh.”

Three key takeaways.


1. Know who your audience is, and do whatever it takes to reach them.

Really doing your research on who’s going to bring you the most leads is the first step towards business success. Of course, an email marketing platform like MailChimp has a much wider target demographic than, say, an engineering company specialising in the oil and gas industry. But regardless of how niche your market is, knowing how to get in front of them is a must.


2. Focus on relationship building rather than the hard sell.

One thing we truly believe in at Ronin is the importance of attracting clients/customers in a genuine manner. Designing a website or digital marketing campaign with authenticity at the forefront is going to win you a lot more fans (and clicks) than one which screams “buy my products”.


3. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

MailChimp certainly veered off the beaten track with their invention of fake films, odd products and wacky trends – and it paid off. Thinking outside the box and taking slight risks with your campaigns can work in your favour if you know how to do it right.

Need a hand creating brilliantly different digital marketing campaigns? Our Ronin team pride ourselves on finding unique ways to promote individual businesses, and coming up with successful marketing strategies that are certain to reach your target market. Give us a call today to find out how we can help.