Digital Magazine

Label PRomotion | Adding Traction to .sucks Domain Extensions

It was only a matter of time before .sucks would become an official domain extension, right along with .com, .net and .us.

A recent sponsored Advertising Age article by John Berard, VoxPopuli Registry CEO, is entitled “How sucking can be good for business.” Berard says younger consumers are looking to build longlasting loyalty by uncovering a company’s “whole truth.” The registry’s rollout of the .sucks domain extension is controversial and the subject of legal wrangling. But, the concept raises some intriguing issues.

Berard notes, “In many ways, consumer criticism is every company's worst nightmare, but for this rising demographic of consumers, they see the democratization of feedback—both positive and negative—as expected and essential to progress. Likewise, the term ‘sucks’ is no longer just a pejorative; it is a point of emphasis, a call to action. In the post-ironic world of Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, ‘sucks’ is a knowing nod to the fact that none of us are perfect, and it is the kind of social glue that consumers seek out and that companies should seek to apply.”

Product manufacturers willing to take a walk on this path may find superb promotional power by using .sucks (or some other mind-jarring) labels on their labels. There’s no denying that the shock value will garner attention and could help establish the type of transparency that millennials in particular seem to crave.

Notes Berard, “It's no secret that breaking through the clutter and forging a strong, lasting, and loyal connection with consumers is becoming increasingly important—and harder each day to do—in a fast-moving, noisy, and crowded market, especially one where consumers can band together on social media to declare a product, a company, or an individual good or bad in an instant.”

The article continues, “…the current generation of targeted consumers…are young, mobile, inclusive, and looking for the whole story—the good and the bad—before making a decision to buy (or buy into) a brand.”

Berard then points out that the advertising world has gravitated to “sucks” in campaigns ranging from Taco Bell’s “sharing sucks” theme to Texas-based Snap Kitchen’s “Healthy eating sucks” promotion of its healthy cuisine. Now that the domain extension is available, it’s logical for companies to build themed promotions, then drive traffic to .sucks addresses.

So, how does this translate to label uses? The idea of a dominant label graphic trumpeting this (or some other) in-your-face concept can be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Promote an intense purifying or filtering process—e.g., “ABCWineCompany.sucks out sulfites.” This provides both a statement about the healthy effects as well as a place to go for more information. Use the same idea to further highlight gluten-free foods and beverages.
  • Use it as a crowdsourcing draw for company improvement—e.g.,”XYZNutraceuticals.sucks up your feedback.” This also can be part of a mea culpa campaign after a product has been attacked in social or mainstream media. Consumers love honest acknowledgment and where warranted, apologies.
  • Make a dramatic statement about product effects, such as “OurSalsa.sucks your breath away,” to promote a particularly hot and spicy sauce. Or for the burgeoning skincare industry, consider “XXXSkincare.sucks out impurities.”
  • Deploy it as a directive or protective statement for products designed for consumption only by adults. For the vape or e-cigarette industries, this could take the form of something like “NoChild.sucks. No way, no how.”
  • Advance a controversial viewpoint. In the decidedly health-conscious food industry, a purveyor of a particularly unhealthy brand of junk food can say simply, “Organic.sucks” or some other attention-getting idea on their label—defining the target consumer in a very loud-and-clear manner.

Clearly, there already are a variety of URLs, campaigns, and promotions where the word “suck” comes into play. But, showcasing it for shock value as its own URL extension, on a label no less, can prove beneficial to heightened credibility and recognition.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.


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