MailChimp explains why things like ‘FailChips’ and ‘SnailPrimps’ are all part of its first major campaign

Despite having a name that's pretty easy to pronounce, MailChimp claims that the e-mail marketing platform has a history of people mispronouncing it (a claim that stems from an audio ad that ran in 2014 before the hit podcast "Serial" in which someone mispronounces the brand as "MailKimp").

The company's oddball name is now the basis of an elaborate marketing campaign that the brand recently launched in partnership with Droga5. Over the past few months, MailChimp has been creating all sorts products, events and videos that play off of its name but don't directly reference the brand in any significant way. For example, the brand recently created three eccentric short films called "JailBlimp," "MailShrimp" and "KaleLimp" that screened in select theaters in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta. It also created a line of chips called "FailChips" and an anti-aging beauty treatment called "SnailPrimp."

One of the largest activations that MailChimp created for the campaign was a song called "Hymn" by Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange) and Bryndon Cook. The collaboration between the two artists, dubbed "VeilHymn," features an interactive music video that fans can check out at a dedicated website. The song's release received media coverage in publications including Rolling Stone and Pitchfork.

While the eclectic activations spanned categories including food, film, fashion and beauty, the one thing that tied them all together was that they all directed people to MailChimp's website. When people typed in things like "MailShrimp" or "FailChips" into Google, the search engine would ask if they meant "MailChimp."

To commemorate the many activations that have made up "Did You Mean MailChimp?" over the past few months, the brand has released a short video that details why it created a "massive search campaign featuring nine mysterious projects" for its first major marketing effort.

"We used mispronunciation as a creative device to inspire all kinds of different executions, knowing that people would be curious about what they were seeing and search for more information," said Mark DiCristina, senior director of brand marketing at MailChimp, in a statement. “We have a history of not taking ourselves too seriously and having fun with our name, and this felt like a perfect way to introduce ourselves to potential new customers in a big and creative way.”

Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

All by Minda