Mailchimp Goes to Absurd Lengths to Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing

Rugs dancing ... on rugs! Witches! Owl-cat-bats!

If you're thinking Mailchimp's latest campaign is the same old thing, guess again.

Absurdist humor rules the day, as the email marketer, part of Intuit, vows to help brands "Guess Less, Sell More" by using its data-driven products and services.

In-house agency Wink Creative collaborated with Smuggler director Bjorn Ruhmann on spots that open with strange imagery and surreal situations. A rug cuts a rug atop another rug. Some dude sports jellyroll hair rollers—and they drip. An owl-cat-bat squeaks and flaps. A Halloween-y witch models sandwich-sandals.

Such oddities, we're told, "leave you guessing," while Mailchimp "takes the guesswork out of marketing."

Can that rug do the shag? (Nah, too on the nose.)

Ruhmann excels at weirdness, which he's effectively deployed for Volkswagen, the Evelyn Lilly Lutz Foundation and Skittles. (That last one had a witch, too.) Mailchimp actually reins in his freaky sensibilities, with the spots' bizarre setups followed by well-reasoned brand pitches that take up two-thirds of their runtime.

These :15s lean into the cray a bit more, rocking a student-film vibe:

"E-mail marketing and growing a business can sometimes feel like a guessing game," Jeremy Jones, global creative director at Mailchimp, tells Muse. "We liked the creativity around 'guessing,' so we spent some time thinking up ideas and activations that could leave people wondering and scratching their heads a little bit. We experimented with puzzles, illusions, creatures and food. All these inputs led us to our 'guesswork' creative construct."

Jones believes that "marketers expect ads targeting them to be engaging, enjoyable and memorable. If we're marketing a marketing solution to a marketer, then the marketing better be good, because they'll judge your products based on the ads."

He views "Guess Less, Sell More" as an evolution of the brand's quirky sensibility—the lauded silliness of Droga5's "Did You Mean Mailchimp" ads pop to mind—with fresh elements spicing the stylistic stew.

"We drew a lot of inspiration from the fashion world and brands like Gucci," Jones says. "We're also students of the internet and Reddit culture, drawing from fun fashion/beauty trends and dancing thing-a-ma-jigs that usually only exist digitally. Also, we tapped into sneaker culture, drew inspiration from Is It Cake?, various TikToks, weird Photoshopped animal combos, and the art direction of mid-century sci-fi movies."

"Guess Less, Sell More" will run through 2023, with a tie-in for New York Fashion Week starting Sept. 9. Mailchimp will join with IMG and the Black in Fashion Council to support up-and-coming designers Izayla, Ndigo Studio, Kwame Adusei, Sammy B, and Muehleder with a pop-up show and more.


Katie Potochney - Executive Creative Director
Jeremy Jones - Group Creative Director
Matt Mattingly - Executive Producer (Hone Production)
Javi Molinos - Creative Director - Copy
Amber Worrell - Associate Creative Director - Art
Rhett Kearsley - Sr. Producer
Emily Enderson - Account Lead
Meg McGinley - Business Affairs (Hone Production)  

Matt Shoemake - Associate Creative Director - Copy
Peter Kehr - Associate Creative Director - Art
Heather Bell - Creative Program Manager (Hone Production)
Christian Widlic - Lead Creative Director - Design
Carly Aiken - Sr. Designer
Juliana Hardesty - Sr. Copywriter 

Dean Funk - Motion Designer
Rachel Yonda - Sr. Motion Designer
Alex Miller - Designer 

Michelle Taite- Chief Marketing Officer
Mark DiCristina - VP of Brand
Michael Mitchell - Sr. Director of Brand
Greg Shumchenia - Director of Brand Marketing
Jamal Miller - Sr. Director of Product Marketing
Jon Holbrook - Sr. Product Marketing Manager
Marissa Prince - Director of Integrated Marketing
René Hallock - Sr. Manager of Marketing, Campaigns
Lindsey Sherwood - Marketing Associate 

Production - Smuggler
Bjorn Ruhmann - Director 
Joe Douglas - Director of Photography
Allison Kunzman - Executive Producer
Nick Sutherland-Dodd - Line Producer
Unit + Sofa - Service Company 

Editorial - PS260
Maury Loeb - Editor
Christian Frahme - Editor 
Kevin Huang - Assistant Editor 
Laura Patterson - Executive Producer
Evann Payne - Head of Production 

Color - Company 3 Los Angeles
Sean Coleman - Colorist
Matt Moran - Producer/Color 

Sound - Company 3 Atlanta
Erich Netherton - Mix/Sound Designer - Company 3 Atlanta
Brian Anderson - Producer - Company 3 Atlanta 

VFX/Conform - Kevin VFX
Tim Davies - Executive Creative Director/ Partner 
Sue Troyan - Senior Executive Producer/ Partner
Gareth Parr, Robert Murdock - VFX Lead

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