Monday, January 24, 2011

A Marketing Lesson for WWE: "Please, Don't Try This at Home" Re-Invented

It’s pretty well known that WWE wrestling is a well-faked theatrical event. But special techniques and little exploits in equipment make it look painfully real.
The thing is though, it’s so real that most kids take it seriously, and a handful of them actually try the moves. And no matter how many John Cena wristbands they wear, it just doesn’t work out. That’s the main premise for the “Please, Don’t Try This” ads that they’ve been airing for years.

But honestly, if you’re a little 8-year old, are you really gonna listen to an ad that tells you not to take after your idol in life, just because it says “please”? And after seeing a vignette of injuries, wouldn’t any regular toddler psychopath be more attracted to trying the WWE moves? If you really wanted to send a message to that bully who keeps taking your lunch money, do you call him a fat loserpants, or do you tear his pectoral muscle off his shoulder with an RKO?


And this blatantly ineffective promotion hasn’t helped the WWE in its quest to appeal to concerned parents. Professional wrestling has become synonymous with over-the-top violence, and to shed this image, I suggest this to Vince McMahon:
How about you make an ad that actually encourages kids to try this? Hear me out— it could go something like this:

… WWE Superstars are professionally trained performers and the moves we perform take years to perfect. Without proper training you will injure yourself. That’s not to say that you can never try them. Ask your parents if you can enrol in a wrestling school and search for one online at, so you can try what we do in the ring, in a safe environment. If you want to be where I am today, wrestling in the WWE, stay safe. Train before you do.

To begin with, this would strike a real chord in kids’ minds, when they hear that they can be wrestling in the WWE. It’s not hypocritical; it’s not telling you not to try something, right before you see someone try it. And it’s engaging because the kids are shown how they can “try this” and not why they can’t.

At the same time, the WWE can start cultivating more talent, which can only mean better programming. Flat out, it’s a win-win.