Creating value in the marketing pits. Really.

By Ted Wright August 2, 2018

marketing pits

I was recently interviewed by AdWeek magazine and commented on a new advertising medium that takes advantage of an under-utilized space. Armpits.

The reporter, Doug Zanger, tells us that Wakino Ad Company (“Waki” is Japanese for “armpit”) is relatively new and it’s unclear how well stickers placed on armpits will be received or even revealed in the first place. Holding a handrail on the subway or stretching arms skyward makes sense but it doesn’t seem like there are too many options to get some armpit ad impressions in.

Wakino’s endeavor is backed by beauty company Liberta which, among its products, markets armpit creams. Wakino is currently recruiting models (both men and women) and running a national armpit beauty contest as well. What makes a beautiful armpit? Who knows.

This is pretty quirky … but will it work? Like most marketing questions, the answer is “it depends!”

Success in the marketing pits

I think it’s a great idea if you’re the first brand to do it. People won’t care when you’re the third to do it, though. The value isn’t in the ad. It’s in the prompt to get people to ask a question about this thing under your armpit and having an opportunity to share a brand story.

For this to work, it has to be about the engagement, not the ad. If you train people to talk about your product in a way that is interesting, relevant, and authentic it will drive conversations. And if you drive conversations, you will eventually drive sales.

Nobody has seen an armpit ad before, and it will likely make people stop and ask questions. So, that is pretty cool.

I could see this working in the United States and, specifically, New York. New York State governor candidate Cynthia Nixon should do this. New York City’s subway has become a major issue in her campaign. And everybody would have their arm raised holding on to a subway rail. There could be hundreds of Cynthia Nixon conversations per hour on the subway, and she’s definitely worth talking about.

Where else would it work? Probably the gym. Maybe some night clubs. Would it work for under arm ads for Under Armor? Maybe but once it’s no longer a novelty, it’s over.


Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth

Photo Credit: Wakino Ad Company

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