Silicon Valley gets a lot of shit — rightly so — for the brogrammer culture that has infected some, though not all, west coast tech startups. Uber, Snapchat, Genius, Tinder all hop readily to mind when you think of companies operated by, or staffed by, dicks.
Still, at least most companies on the left-hand side of America are slowly realizing that a “for dudes, by dudes” image is great for “male lifestyle brands” but best avoided if you want to maintain widespread popularity.
Apparently that message has yet to reach all the way to the east coast.
In New York earlier this week for Pando Monthly, I spotted this just. plain. weird. ad campaign for Chicago-based Grubhub. The tagline: “Bro, do you even takeout?”
Evoking bro-culture generally, let alone using the actual word “bro”, to sell to young consumers has long since shot past douchy, overtaken irony, lapped douchy again and come to rest firmly in the backyard of gross. Even on a college campus — where this ad wasn’t — smart marketers must surely think twice before nodding towards a phrase that conjours up the worst kind of frat behavior.
And yet, we have to assume that someone inside Grubhub’s marketing department — a well paid someone, given this is a public company with a $ 3bn market cap — walked into a pitch meeting, silenced the room with a yelled “Yo!” and then proudly announced that he or she had figured out the perfect way to reach young, time-pressed diners. “Bro,” that person must have declared to the hushed room of fucking morons, “do you even takeout?”
And everyone in that room thought to his or herself: “Great question.”