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Newsletter #1043: The “(Not Really) NSFW” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Readers have told me before that they’d love to share my posts and newsletters if the word “damn” wasn’t in my blog’s name. But, anyone who’s spent any time with me knows that’s one of the more tame terms in my vocabulary. And like Gary Vaynerchuk, I’ve decided to put myself out there, take those losses, and stay true to my voice — occasional cursing and all.

Here are some other companies that have taken a stand, stood out, or just made people laugh by being (a little) NSFW:

1. Ello and freedom of speech
2. Playboy and safe-for-work content
3. Groupon and Banana Bunkers
4. Check it out: Logo makeovers

1. Ello and freedom of speech

When Google made the unpopular decision to ban adult content from Blogger and then reversed the decision, Ello took the opportunity to share their take. They claim that because Ello is ad-free, they won’t let advertisers control their “haven for free speech.” But they didn’t just write a press release or an email. Ello named March “NSFW Month” and asked users to help them celebrate by discussing ideas of freedom of speech, censorship, and an open Internet.

The lesson: By getting their users to participate in the discussion, Ello didn’t just take a stance, they started a widespread conversation. When you have an opportunity to make your voice heard, remember that your customers can help you make it that much louder.

Learn more: Observer

2. Playboy and safe-for-work content

Flowchart: Should you catcall her?,” “10 video game characters who are basically Clint Eastwood,” and “A Style Guide to a Men’s Custom Suits” — all pieces from Playboy, believe it or not. Their Senior VP of Digital Content, Cory Jones, says that with a broader range of safe-for-work stuff and some feminist-leaning content, their new strategy is not only trying to reach more people, but also to keep up with the times. Since the rebranding, Playboy.com has grown from 5.5 million unique visitors to 21.5 milion. They’ve also become one of the top 15 U.S. brands in social media.

The lesson: The pivot in their branding shows that Playboy is willing to adapt and create content to fit what they know people share and care about.

Learn more: Adweek

3. Groupon and Banana Bunkers

When Groupon posted a deal for the Banana Bunker on Facebook, it brought out everyone’s inner comedian with comments on what it looks like or could be used for. But the most remarkable part of the whole thing was Groupon’s response. Instead of taking it down, the brand’s social media manager responded to every single comment on the promotion making their own tongue-in-cheek jokes along the way. Their quick responses were witty, personalized, and earned them a bunch of press.

The lesson: By choosing to show their personality instead of sterile PR responses, Groupon made their promotion much more fun and interesting — and of course, sold out of Banana Bunkers.

Learn more: Forbes

4. Check it out: Logo makeovers

For $25, these designers will turn a company’s logo into a custom logo with a penis.

Check it out: Penised.com

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