You’ve Got Nothing to Lose

February 26, 2018

By Jenny Nicholson, Group Creative Director, McKinney​

A little over a year ago, a local animal shelter in Atlanta, Georgia, realized they needed to raise their profile and get more people adopting their pets. Instead of doing the usual meet and greet at the local pet store, they made this amazingly awesome video. It quickly spread to the edges of the internet, racking up over 5 million YouTube views and showing up everywhere from news broadcasts to Buzzfeed to the front page of Reddit.

What does this have to do with startups?

Well, that animal shelter had no budget. No sponsored posts. No real director. (In fact, I suspect someone shot the commercial on their phone.) They had nothing but a bunch of cats and a ridiculous idea.

I’m guessing their situation is pretty similar to yours.

I mean, I don’t know how you feel about cats, but I’m willing to bet you’ve got a product or service you want people to use and you don’t have a lot of money to promote it.

Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d write: You can learn a lot from the Furkids Kitty Kommercial. The lesson? If you want to get attention, you have to take chances. Big ones.

Huge companies spend huge piles of money shoving ads in our faces. But they’re usually pushing boring ads about boring stuff that nobody cares about. They have to pay for eyeballs because nobody wants to hear what they have to say. So let’s forget those guys. History has shown that people are more than happy to talk about advertising, as long as it’s advertising that doesn’t suck. (I’d like to point out that none of these ideas required a huge budget.)

We live in a world that’s hungry for interesting ideas — the crazier, the better. And you’re in the perfect position to capitalize on that appetite. Sure, you may not have a big budget or a huge number of social followers. But you also don’t have a huge bottom line to protect or shareholders to please. And you have tons of something too many big brands lack — courage. After all, it takes bravery to walk away from a steady paycheck and dive headfirst into the startup world. So harness some of that bravery and apply it to coming up with the most insane way possible to tell the world what you’re doing. I promise you, it will pay off.