As a marketing guy, I like acronyms. PPC, ROI, FSI, and POP to name a few. I love it when they get a little tricky, like CPM for cost per thousand (the M comes from the Roman numeral for 1,000).

From Acronyms to Portmanteaus

Even better than an acronym is a portmanteau. A portmanteau is a combination of two (or more) words, and their definitions, into one new word. The word comes from the English portmanteau luggage (a piece of luggage with two compartments), itself derived from the French porter (to carry) and manteau (coat). Think blog (web log), infomercial (information commercial), or email (electronic mail).

I came across a portmanteau yesterday that knocked my marketing socks off. Flawsome is a combination of Flaws and Awesome. My friend Dave Rendall shared an article by Claire Dunn that talked about the concept of being flawsome.

The core message of the article is that today’s consumers are empowered. They know more than ever before. Therefore, don’t hide your flaws. Honesty is truly the best policy. Dunn states,

“We no longer buy ad campaigns that are too good to be true. Consumers now want honest conversations about products and appreciate brands that show some maturity, humility, and humor.”

Rendall has a similar message is his book, Freak Factor – Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness. Most advertising is still about features and benefits, negating any form of weakness. Instead, Rendall wants you to flaunt them, exaggerate them, and amplify them.

For example, the Australian brand Buckley’s has embraced a key weakness. The mouthwash has succeeded not despite their bad flavor, but because of it. Parent Novartis doesn’t hide the flavor issue. Instead their campaigns have slogans such as “It tastes awful. And it works,” and “Open wide and say ‘@#$%&*!’.” Brand manager Kironmoy Datta says,

“One of our principles is to be honest and straightforward. The brand has no qualms about stating it the way it is. We’ve made a conscious choice to not be everything to everyone. We believe consumers respect our honest approach.”

Takeaway: Think differently about your so-called weaknesses.

An Acronym with an Interesting Twist

One of the acronyms in marketing is a GWP. Simply, it’s a form of sampling called gift with purpose. Typically you buy X amount of product and you get Y for free as a gift. A variation on the concept is PWP. A PWP is a purchase with purchase. Buy X amount of product and you Y for a reduced or nominal cost.

The GWP is a favorite promotional tactic for cosmetics at department stores.

Enter Macy’s

Macy’s recently decided to provide a little extra to their GWP program. They call their program, Gift with Purpose. Customers not only receive a gift, but the store pays it forward to the community. In this case, through their exclusive FEED Program, Clarins and Macy’s have provided 650,000 school meals to children in need.

Receive a FREE 7-Pc. FEED Gift with $75 Clarins purchase - A Macy's

Receive a FREE 7-Pc. FEED Gift with $75 Clarins purchase – A Macy’s Exclusive

This is kind of like a portmanteau of a purple goldfish. The gift with purpose combines the concept of pay it forward and sampling. Perhaps we should call it Paypling or Sampforward.