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Irony in Marketing

"The Most Interesting Man in the World" was a campaign that featured an older gentleman in situations and delivering lines that were wildly implausible if not impossible.

This campaign was so successful, I probably don’t need to note that this campaign was created by Dos Equis beer. You not only already know that, but you may be able to cite your own favorite lines from their ads, even if you don’t drink Dos Equis beer.

"If opportunity knocks and he's not home, opportunity waits.”

“His words carry weight that would break a less interesting man's jaw.”

"He can speak French . . . in Russian."

“Mosquitos refuse to bite him purely out of respect.”

“If he were to pat you on the back, you would list it on your resume.”

“His two cents is worth $37 in change.”

This use of irony is entertaining and therefore memorable.

For professional services providers, there’s an unintended irony that is memorable, but in an extremely negative way.

It’s marketing in which a service provider, in an attempt to build their perceived expertise, instead undercuts it. Badly.

Recently I received a LinkedIn direct message from a financial advisor, the third in a progressive series of plain vanilla messages which are not personalized to me in any way except for the use of my name.

It started with:

“You might notice from my profile that I know a lot about taxes and how to help you save them.”

My thought: No, I haven’t looked at your profile page. What I do see though, is that you haven’t posted in TEN YEARS. There’s nothing that showcases your expertise on taxes in any way whatsoever, and even anything which makes me think you’re a real human being.

It goes on:

“When connecting with people like yourself, I always seem to get this question: ‘Can I really reduce my taxes without breaking the law?’”


The note went on to ask for a 15-minute chat “today or tomorrow.” The note was sent at 5:09 pm on a Friday afternoon. Really?

Someone other than this advisor is managing his communication and doing an extremely poor job of it. It’s so mediocre that I looked him up, off LinkedIn, to make sure that the profile was real and not fake.

I’m not criticizing this professional; on the contrary, I feel sorry for him. He’s been taken.

It’s a warning, professional services providers. Don’t get fooled by LinkedIn hucksters who will promise you the moon on how they’ll fill up your funnel with leads and could care less about your perceived authority.

Zealously guard this most precious asset, your perceived authority. It takes time, patience, and hard work to build. You can try shortcuts like this one, but they’re at best marginally effective. At worst, they can seriously injure your brand.

Instead, bring yourself and generously share the expertise you have to offer the world. Just a little bit at a time. The cumulative effect will be lasting.

Image created using Craiyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

(This blog post was also posted on LinkedIn.)

©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray


About me: I help solo or small professional services firm owners with the confidence and positioning necessary to improve their pricing and change the trajectory of not only their business but their life.

I have a podcast called The Price and Value Journey, which features interviews with industry leaders and audio versions of my blog posts. You can find the podcast on your favorite podcast app.

I also have a book coming out in 2023: The Price and Value Journey: Raise Your Confidence, Your Value, and Your Prices to Grow Your Business Using The Generosity Mindset.

For more information, go to


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