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What is Murketing?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Murketing is a nebulous advertising strategy which is used to advance a brand in ways which often seem unconventional or even a bit nonsensical. One of the best examples of murketing can be seen in the advertising techniques used for the Red Bull energy drink. Murketing appears to be largely a 21st century phenomenon, and it is especially popular among the coveted “Generation Y” or “Millennial” market.

This term is a portmanteau of “marketing” and “murky,” emphasizing the fact that murketing is basically just very murky and sometimes confusing marketing. A marketing campaign erects a billboard that says “Buy Brand X Soap,” while a murketing campaign might use the same billboard to make an illogical statement, accompanied with no explanation whatsoever, and then tie the billboard into a larger marketing campaign. Murketing builds a buzz around products, creating a vague brand identity with lots of room for maneuvering in the future.

In a typical advertising campaign, say for a brand of laundry soap, the advertisements clearly focus on the fact that the product advertised is soap, and that it is extremely effective. The advertisements would feature scenes with laundry, often demonstrating the effectiveness of that particular soap when compared to other, “generic” brands. As consumers were exposed to the advertising, they would grow to recognize the brand, and become attached to it, so when they arrived at the store for laundry soap, they would be more inclined to buy the soap they saw advertised.

Murketing campaigns, however, are never this explicit, and they can take a wide variety of forms. Many firms which specialize in murketing focus on new media, distributing viral videos, infiltrating chat rooms, and establishing promotional sites in the forms of blogs or mysterious treasure hunts across the Internet. The goal is to slowly and thoroughly penetrate the desired market, creating an image around the product rather than focusing on mere brand recognition.

Many murketing campaigns market a lifestyle, rather than a specific product. In the laundry soap example above, for example, murketing for the soap would emphasize the fact that people who washed their clothes with that soap got better partners, enjoyed more popularity, or lived adventurous, action-packed lifestyles. The soap company might also distribute strange viral videos that had nothing whatsoever to do with soap, or use murketing connections to send teams out into the street to pass out free soap or engage in publicity stunts which draw attention to the brand without specifically marketing it.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By SarahSon — On Aug 17, 2011

Since many young people want to achieve, or be a part of a certain lifestyle, I can see how murketing is a way to reach this mindset.

It offers a much broader appeal than the idea of one single product. Social networking sites can also help these advertising ideas generate a lot of publicity in a short amount of time.

If something goes viral, no matter how nonsensical it is, you have reached a far greater number of people than you do with traditional advertising.

By LisaLou — On Aug 16, 2011

I think it is the element of mystery and unconventional advertising that is so appealing to young people. Murketing creates a different marketing strategy that many younger people are drawn to.

I can see as more advertisers begin to use this type of advertising, it will probably become much more common than it is now. This will be the type of advertisements that many people of the younger generation will know and relate to.

As for me, I still like the traditional advertising, but that is all that I have ever known. I must admit there is a bit of excitement in the creativity and intrigue that murketing provides.

By live2shop — On Aug 16, 2011

I can see how the new type of marketing called murketing would be popular with the Generation Y. With the advance in technology, this group is used to changes and looking forward to something new and exciting.

Lifestyle is a big part of who they are. The internet is a great place for marketers to do their murketing. Often when lifestyle is paired with "products", even subtly, they seem to internalize the ideas.

I think that the creators of murketing have really hit on something - maybe not for the total population, but with the niche called Generation Y.

By lovealot — On Aug 15, 2011

Personally, I like the regular type of advertisement that tells how a product is better than the competition, if it is done in an honest way. But the marketing can still be done in a way that is humorous or clever.

If you've ever seen a commercial from the 50s and 60s, you'll understand what bland and boring is!

Marketers have come a long, long way!

I know those marketers who use murketing strategies are trying something new and innovative to sell their products and to entertain. But, for me, these ads are confusing and the subtle ideas don't stick in my mind.

By burcidi — On Aug 15, 2011

I think I prefer murketing to regular marketing strategies because it looks more fun. Sometimes I do see an ad here or there that I don't understand at all, but at the same time, it doesn't prevent me from associating with that brand or product.

I think we have gotten so used to the regular and boring marketing strategies and ads, murketing has infused some excitement and fun into the industry. Some out-of-the ordinary is not bad.

At the same time, brands shouldn't overdo it. The ads still need to grab the attention of the majority. So targeting only a specific group in society with their ads won't get them very far.

By wavy58 — On Aug 14, 2011

I actually prefer straight marketing over murketing. I like to be informed about a product before I buy it. I cannot be sold on something that tells me my love life or career will improve if I buy it. Also, I like to laugh, but if all your commercial does is make me giggle, that’s not enough to sell your product to me.

I may be one of the few, but I like those detergent commercials that give me statistics and percentages. I love it when they tell me the active ingredients that make it work better than other brands.

If I’m reading or watching an advertisement for breakfast cereal, I want to hear details about the whole grains used to make it and the vitamins and minerals included in it. This is what I look for in a cereal, not something that will make me drop eight dress sizes in a week and meet Mr. Right.

By indemnifyme — On Aug 13, 2011

@KaBoom - Murketing does kind of make sense. However, I think sometimes marketers go a little too far with it.

I know sometimes marketers create website that look real, but are actually related to a movie or a TV show. I think this has the potential to scare or confuse people if they can't tell the website is just a marketing ploy!

By seag47 — On Aug 13, 2011

I had never heard this term before, but I definitely see ads based on this idea all the time. Advertisers think that by associating their products with a fun or mysterious statement, they are setting their brand apart as something that needs no explanation because it is that awesome.

Often, it works. Most people would rather see an interesting commercial than a typical one, even if its message is unrelated to the product. Usually, consumers don’t need an advertisement to tell them that soap cleans or a drink satiates thirst, anyway.

If an ad campaign is entertaining enough, that alone can boost sales. If you effectively make consumers associate something hilarious with your product, then they will remember it and feel good when they see it on a shelf in a store. They will be more likely to purchase it than a product with a mundane advertisement.

By KaBoom — On Aug 13, 2011

Murketing and lifestyle brands seem to go hand in hand. I've noticed it a lot more in the last few years for sure.

In murketing, it's often really hard to tell what is being advertised. But they somehow make you want whatever it is by tying it to a specific lifestyle.

For example, a lifestyle brand that targets skateboarders would probably have a lot of skateboard related commercials. Even if what they are selling is a drink, or a shirt, or something totally unrelated to skateboard. However, murketing find a way to make it related. This is actually a pretty ingenious marketing tactic, I think.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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