In another post on Marketing Lessons from Whisky Campaigns, I mentioned the technique of Lamp-shading.

If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a fiction writer’s technique of basically OWNING uncanny happenings, plot holes, etc — by specifically calling them out rather than trying to hide them.

Don’t hide it. Own it.

Another name for this techniques is “Address and Dismiss.”

And in advertising this technique works best when your vulnerabilities are tied to your strengths. When your critics and your fans are sort of saying the same thing, just in different ways.

Here’s a perfect non-whisky example:

If you can’t make out anything but the headline of the review, it reads:

“I’ve heard Snowbird is a tough mountain, but this is ridiculous. It felt like every trail was a steep chute or littered with tree wells. How is anyone supposed to ride in that? Not fun!”

Greg in Los Angeles, CA  

For every Greg in Los Angeles that thinks Snowbird is too steep and too hard, there are tons of double-diamond ski hounds that thinks that sounds perfect.

So Snowbird owns that negative review and lampshades it.

Which brings us to Laphroaig’s magnificent testimonial ad. Check it out:


Same whisky, two very different sets of opinions. But both sets are kind of saying the same thing. Perfection.

They’ve even stretched the campaign to include print ads:

You and your brand aren’t for everybody. And that’s not only OK, that’s the only way you’d want it.

So if your advertising consultant doesn’t get that, it’s probably time for a new one — and I’d be happy to help.

P.S. Want one more example of great lamp-shading? Check out this “testimonial” ad from Alamo Drafthouse: 

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