Should Unthink rethink?

Simon Mainwaring / Advertising / 8 years ago

This week marks the launch of Unthink, a new social network that positions itself as a counterpoint to Facebook and Google+ attacking what they describe as dishonest invasions of privacy. While there’s clearly room for another social network in the marketplace that offers users greater ownership of their content and privacy protection, the focus of this post is the combative tone of their launch campaign.

While the user interface of the site looks great, you can see from their launch video that they pull few punches when targeting their peers. While this is clearly designed to tap into the wellspring of frustrations and even anger over privacy issues, especially among young users, the negative tone may well prove counterproductive.

It’s rare that you ever see a brand generate more than temporary attention when it strikes such a negative tone. In my mind, it would have been more effective to celebrate the clear positives of greater transparency and ownership of content that Unthink provides. While such sensationalism will command attention in the short term, the tone of the marketing seems inconsistent with the spirit of their values. I would have preferred that Unthink celebrates its own merits, including its seamless integration of the functionalities of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and the clear transparency as to how they make money.

I’ll watch with interest to see if Unthink can attract an older audience and for how long such an adversarial tone sustains interest. Hopefully they will soon strike a more positive tone. The platform is extremely well done and the principles behind the platform are very important so it would be unfortunate for the the tone of the launch marketing to frustrate its long term success. True transparency, privacy and data ownership are revolutionary enough without having to someone else down.

What do you think about the privacy and data-ownership issues that Unthink addresses?  Do you think that tone is appropriate, or would it be better to lead with a more positive approach?


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  1. Avatar PamMktgNut says:

    I agree 100%! I wrote a similar article shared below.  I also think their brand messages are quite conflictive which makes it hard to believe anything they say.  On one hand they yell “f-u” and on the other hand they have videos that talk about a sustainable, peaceful world where brands are socially responsible. #fail
    Yes, they should start completely over.  My 2 cents 

    1. Thanks Pam. Yes, I think they would get more traction with leveraging their transparency but I understand the need to create noise in crowded marketplace. I’ll watch with interest what happens. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the article. Simon

  2. Avatar Dannyhealy1 says:

    I read somewhere that a song becomes “daggy” when the emotion of the performance doesn’t trigger the emotion of the audience.  Definetly needs a rethink!

    1. Thanks, Danny. I know what you mean. I think they should reconsider also.

  3. Avatar Neil Hopkins says:

    Hi Simon

    I agree – it’s very strange to see a brand being so negative as the mainstay of its promotion.
    I managed to miss most of that, somehow, as I registered for the beta ages back and then forgot about it.

    However, I really think that they’ve got problems due to Facebook’s changes to privacy and the launch of Google+.  Additionally, load times, server crashes and the fact that it seems to hate Firefox and IE equally are issues.  I blogged a first look review earlier if you’re interested –

    In my view, they also need to sort out the UX/UI too.  It’s not simple and efficient. 

    There’s a real mountain to climb here – I’m all for the underdog but I get a sense that the beta was launched half-baked…

    In terms of approach, I’m all for a bit of antagonism if the UX is polished and ready to go.  In this case, it isn’t…


    1. Thanks Neil and I agree. You need a positive tone and great UI experience to have a chance of competing. Even Google+ traffic is struggling.I hope Unthink becomes more optimistic in their approach. best, simon