Should You Swear in Your Marketing?

Nicola Moras

There's been a bit surge in the last few years with people incorporating swearing into their marketing and their book titles, to name a few, there's the “Subtle art of not giving a f#ck” by Mark Manson, “Go the F#ck to sleep” Adam Mansbach and “The life changing art of not giving a f#ck” by Sarah Knight. It does seem to be a growing trend.

The question we should be asking ourselves is: “Why is this being done and is it something I should emulate?”

The world of social media is noisy. It’s growing every day, and everyone is struggling to stand out, be seen and to be heard. Swearing in your marketing might seem like the logical conclusion to make, but it's not always the right move.

Here are five things to consider before deciding to use swearing in your marketing:

1. The Pattern Interrupt

Imagine you're in a state of mindless scrolling on Facebook or Instagram and then BAM! A loud, noisy siren goes off, and it's the most deafening sound you've ever heard in your life. You would look up. You would be in shock, and you would be wondering what the heck is going on. Suddenly, you're paying attention to something other than what's going on right in front of you.

This is a classic example of a pattern interrupt. It changes your focus and can change your state. Using a pattern interrupt can be an effective way of getting attention in the short term, yet, if everyone is doing it, it becomes normal, and people start to ignore it.

2. Polarisation

Polarisation is defined as the division into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs, and this is something you can use on social media.

Most people have an opinion on swearing, and in particular some specific swear words. For instance, many don't mind the full use of 'BS' and others don't mind the 'F' word. Others, yet, find it offensive and hate it. Others think it's the best thing on the planet when someone drops an "F bomb".

A great example of this is as at live events such as a Tony Robbins event. I was at one recently, and there was a bit of swearing. I don't mind it, but many others were complaining about the use of swearing. Others were indifferent. Others loved it. Swearing seems to be an effortless way to sort people into three main categories: Love it, hate it and indifferent.

The trick with using swearing as a polarisation tactic is this: If you don't usually swear and if you feel uncomfortable doing it, then don't do it! Don't jump on a fad because it seems like the thing to do. Authenticity rules the world.

3. Is it reflective of your values?

Some people have strong opinions about swearing, and if yours is that it shouldn't be done, don't bow to the perceived pressure to include swearing. It will land the wrong way, and you'll end up looking silly rather than looking like an expert.

4. Own it

If you're going to swear, you need to 'own it'. This means using the words that you're going to use with volition and intention and with purpose. It could be to instigate the use of polarisation and as a pattern interrupt, which is excellent. Don't ever apologise for the language you use if it's done with intention and authenticity.

5. Swearing will be THE reason some people buy and the very reason some don’t

Time and time again, I have been told that people have bought from me because I have included swearing in titles of programs, in emails and posts online. My clients have experienced this, and I have seen my peers do this over and over again as well.

Yes, it will turn some people off, but others will love you even more because of it.

The bottom line is this: If you swear in your everyday life and with your clients, then consider using swearing strategically in your marketing. If not, then don’t.

6. Dealing with the feedback of well-meaning individuals

Swearing is generally something that most people have an opinion. Some people will share with you that you should not swear or that you should tone it down. If you have worked through the first five steps and you are happy that swearing aligns with your brand, then don't get caught up on the feedback.

When people weigh in with their opinions, don't react. Say thank you and move on. Their interpretation of what you're doing and saying is all about them and not at all about you.

When you ask yourself “Should I swear in my marketing" make sure the answers are coming from a place of brand authenticity for you and your business. Don't jump on the bandwagon because it seems to be the thing to do these days.

Nicola Moras is an online VISIBILITY expert and author of Visible, a guide for business owners on how to generate financial results from social media and digital marketing. Nicola helps clients around the world achieve visibility, impact and profits, enabling them to become ‘professionally famous’ online. Find out more at www.nicolamoras.com.au/events