Go on—admit it—you’re curious, aren’t you? Is the rumour true? Does cheese affect your sleep patterns? Well I found out about it, by accident in the small hours of Monday morning…

We awake suddenly in the night to the sound of a dog barking, a police helicopter overhead or a burglar breaking a window—I can’t remember which. At the time—as one does—I thought it was all three.

We are disorientated, fretting and struggling to manage the transition from dark reverie to consciousness. Both of us—it appears—are trying to shrug off rather unpleasant dreams. She is being pursued by Pac Man through the streets of Cardiff and all my family have turned into giant orange Space Hoppers and moved to Norfolk.

She goes to the kitchen to make a drink, I pick up the iPad on the semi-conscious and triumphant hunch that the cheese and biscuits we ate are to blame. She returns. I tell her about my cheese theory in a proud and knowing way. She looks at me as if I’m completely mad, buries her head in the pillow and promptly nods off, leaving me with my cheese conundrum.

I launch Google at 2.55 am and by 2.58am, the brilliantly-named British Cheese Board has provided me with the answer: Different cheeses give you different types of dreams. Who’d have thought, eh?

Which cheeses for which dreams?

Yes, in a truly marvelous marketing moment, the British Cheese Board attempted to quell the groundswell of folklore that suggests that cheese gives you nocturnal nasties, by dealing with the problem head on.

In 2005 it carried out a scientific study where a group of 200 volunteers was asked to eat 30 grams of cheese, half an hour before going to bed and to make a note of their dreams. It turns out that Cheshire cheese gives only mild dreams while Stilton induces bizarre dreams. Red Leicester consumers dreamt about the past but Lancashire eaters all dreamt about the future. And if you want to dream about celebrities—it’s cheddar you need, apparently.

Taking negatives head on has proved a useful technique on occasions in marketing and as long you get it right, it can work…

Skoda and Carphone Warehouse

After suffering a decade or more of derisory comments, Skoda decide to tackle to the issue head on with this ad in 2008.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWTJ_TPraLQ

And Carphone Warehouse have to date refused to change their name, despite the fact that many of its customer base don’t even know what a Carphone was (Note to that demographic: (“Carphone”: circa 1980s telecommunications device for use in-vehicle, typically the size and weight of a house brick and with similar connectivity capabilities).

Why didn’t they change the name? Because the Carphone brand is iconic. No-one cares about its origins anymore and the quirky story behind its name still gets people talking. Again—taking the negative head on.

I’m sure that there are many more examples. If you can think of any, or you have any pieces of memorable marketing that you’d like to share, please comment below or go social with the hashtag #memorablemarketing and I’ll do a top 10 in a future blog with links back to the contributors.

Catch up next time. In the meantime, choose your cheese carefully and make your marketing memorable!

Huw Johns, Independent Marketing Consultant, February 2016