Brands Use Alternative Connections to Build Audiences

While perusing, I was presented with an unusual Connection Suggestion. His name is Chip Baskets and he’s a Rodeo Clown at Buckaroo Rodeo. You may think this is stranger than I do. I’ve been hanging out with Chip Baskets at my house every Thursday night at 10:00 pm for the past 5 weeks or so.

You see, Chip is a fictitious character played by Zach Galifianakis on the FX Network’s new TV show, Baskets. He plays a down-on-his-luck clown who studied clowning at Academie de Clown Francais in France, (even though he doesn’t speak French), marries a French woman who’s only interested in getting a green card, moves back to Bakersfield, CA, and the only paying gig he can find in his profession is at a rodeo. It’s a very dark comedy with dry humor; it’s sometimes depressing and absolutely hilarious.

This is the first time that I’ve seen a fictitious character’s profile created on LinkedIn for the purpose of promoting a TV show. I gladly sent an invitation to connect with Chip, mostly with curiosity to find out what’s next … ?

Chip and I are now connected on LinkedIn, so I’m sure the rest of my connections will probably see an update in their news feed of “Jason Kimerling is now connected to Chip Baskets, Rodeo Clown ” and think “what the heck?” That will cause them to click on his profile and subsequently view a well-disguised advertisement for a TV show.

Jason's New Connection

I found this to be quite a clever tactic by Fox to think of alternative ways to expand their reach and potential audience. Audience is one of the Five Gates of Brand Confinement we’ve identified at Wilson Rebranding that every brand must pass through to be sustainable. Thanks to the multitude of digital and social media platforms available, there isn’t an excuse for not building an audience. However, it is also important to find a space where your unique message can be heard. By selecting LinkedIn, a business platform, and highlighting Chip’s career, it makes sense and ties together.

Now that I have a personal connection with Chip, I am more vested in his career—and Fox’s show. It should also prove to be a valuable listening tool for Fox through discussions within LinkedIn, comments and likes, increasing their audience even more through connections’ news feeds. And with skills listed including Pantaloon Tailoring, Sock Puppetry (Dress, not Athletic) and Bull Insulting it will be interesting to see how many endorsements he receives. It might even reveal something about their audience.

This is just one great example of a brand connecting and interacting with their audience in a unique place. Keep in mind that depending on your product or service, your brand’s audience could very well be found in a variety of different venues. For example, the ideal communication for your audiences might be divided by age, demographics or geography. We’ve seen that with events, tourism, destination marketing and a number of other clients. It would not be surprising if the age of the LinkedIn audience skewed older, while an equally engaged audience might exist on Instagram for Mr. Baskets.

For a good laugh, you can view Chip’s official website, which looks like he made it himself back in 1997: Maybe you’ll want to connect with him as well. Or with Wilson Advertising while you’re there.

To learn more about the Five Gates of Brand Confinement and creative ways you can address them, download our ebook.


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