The Royal Family, Veganism and Elton John’s Head … Why Morrissey Is The Master of Polarizing His Audience

By Oli Luke

If Morrissey took me in a dark room and offered me the opportunity to fumble with his manhood – I’d probably accept.

I worship the man.

To me, he’s the greatest singer/songwriter that has ever lived.

The line “You are repressed but you’re remarkably dressed” (about London) just encapsulates my exact thoughts in a way that is much more intelligent and witty than I could ever pen.

But what I love most about Morrissey is that I feel we have a connection, I feel that if we met, we’d have the potential to become friends as we share many of the same views and are on the same wavelength.

Of course, Morrissey doesn’t know I exist, nor would he care.

But here’s the thing …

To the large majority of people, Morrissey is an arse hole.

In fact, he must be one of the most hated singers/artists on the planet.

Why? Because he has some VERY strong views on a number of controversial topics and he never pulls his punches, he’s not a music industry puppet, nor does he care for what others think.

Some of Morrissey’s most controversial quotes 

  • 2012: Morrissey links the suicide of a London nurse to the Duchess Kate Middleton. “There’s no blame placed at Kate Middleton, who was in the hospital for, as far as I can see, absolutely no reason . . . She feels no shame about the death of this woman. The arrogance of the British royals is staggering, absolutely staggering.”
  • 2012: Morrissey has his band wear “We Hate William and Kate” shirts onstage.
  • 2012: In an open letter to his fan club, Morrissey rips into the “blustering jingoism” of the London Olympics, comparing the mood in the U.K. to Nazi Germany. “The ‘dazzling royals’ have, quite naturally, hijacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs, and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. . . The spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain.”
  • 2011: In an interview with Billboard, Morrissey calls Lady Gaga “nothing new” and says her style is “fraudulent, and the exact opposite of erotic.” He also refers to Madonna as “McDonna” and says Michael Bublé is “famous and meaningless.”
  • 2011: Of the Norway massacre in which 77 people died, Morrissey heralds to a Warsaw crowd, “That is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.”
  • 2010: Discussing animal cruelty in China, Morrissey tells The Guardian, “You can’t help but feel that the Chinese people are a subspecies.”
  • 2009: Morrissey leaves the stage at Coachella, explaining “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can smell burning flesh . . . and I hope to God it’s human.”
  • 2002: From documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey: “Bring me the head of Elton John. . . which is one instance in which meat would not be murder, if it were served on a plate.”
  • 1994: When asked about an incident in which an Australian student shot a starting pistol at the Prince of Wales, Morrissey responds, “I wish that Prince Charles had been shot. I think it would have made the world a more interesting place.”
  • 1992: Morrissey knocks dance music. “It’s the refuge for the mentally deficient. It’s made by dull people for dull people.”
  • 1985: Morrissey slams the charity group Band Aid and its co-founder. “Bob Geldof is a nauseating character. Band Aid was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music.”
  • 1984: Morrissey laments the failed assassination attempt on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher after the Brighton hotel bombing. “The sorrow of the IRA Brighton bombing is that Thatcher escaped unscathed.”

Now, I find the large majority of these hilarious.

But for most people, these are incredibly offensive.

You see, what Morrissey has mastered is the art of polarization.

He attracts some people and repels others.

The people that he attracts LOVE him, whilst the people he repels HATE him.

In this article, I want to share why polarizing your audience is such a great thing to do from a marketing point of view and share my initial findings from becoming more polarizing with my audience.

But before we get started, let me just define what I mean by polarizing your audience.

Polarizing your audience essentially means sharing opinions/doing stuff that splits opinions.

For example, when Morrissey slags off the Royal Family, people who share his opinion will naturally resonate with him (like myself) whilst people that disagree with his opinion will naturally feel disconnected/dislike him.

The more we feel that we have in common with somebody, the more connected we feel with them and the more we want them to know who we are.

It’s why when a marketer like myself does it, it allows me to really attract some (that make dream clients) and massively repel others (who’d be a nightmare to work with).

Being myself, sharing my opinions, not caring what people think and being somewhat controversial has been the smartest thing that I’ve done in my marketing.

Because the people that love it, share my opinions, are similar to me and are a joy to spend time with … and the people that don’t like it aren’t really my kind of people.

It means that the clients that I have today (and the business partners for that matter) are all very similar to me and we get on very well.

So, how do you Polarize Your Audience (and Where’s the Line?)

If you’ve been reading my emails and reading these newsletters recently, you’ll notice that I’ve turned the heat up with my polarization.

This time 12 months ago, I was a little too nice.

Sure, I’d share my love for Morrissey, beer and maybe hint at my dislike for religion – but I was almost scared of upsetting people.

Naturally, I’m a nice person that wants to help people …

… but from the start of this year, I decided to start becoming a bit more arsey and stop being so soft.

I made this decision for two key reasons.

  1. When I first started sending my daily emails in 2014, hardly anybody was sending them – just speaking in a personality-rich tone was different and allowed me to stand out – but now, everybody is using this same approach (and it’s becoming difficult to stand out … so being more controversial and crossing a line that most people fear allows me to be interesting).
  2. I found my hook. For the past 24 months, I’ve kind of knocked about, been comfortable, not really had a niche – but in December, I noticed the decline in online marketing and how diversifying your audience and communication through direct mail was so key – which now allows me to throw stones at online marketing.

The third unwritten thing that allows me to push the boundaries is that I also have two additional companies that provide income streams, so if I really push the boat out and make a “Beatles-esque” statement about being bigger than Jesus that pisses everybody off – then it’s not a complete disaster.

What Have My Founding’s Been?

So, what has happened since I started polarizing and become aggressive in my content?

I’ve ruffled a few feathers. Sure.

But it’s generated some huge momentum. From being invited on Podcasts, to having people want to work with me, to attracting opportunities … it’s got peoples attention.

My open-rates are up. My engagement is up. I’m relevant and people want to know what I’m going to say next.

It’s been incredible.

Here’s my advice to you.

Take your fucking hand-break off and stop being a pussy.

If you fear potentially upsetting somebody, then your marketing is going to be incredibly boring and you’ll be losing out on sales/customers because you’re putting your ego ahead of your business.

Be yourself and don’t fear sharing your opinion – honestly, it feels great to call out shit and have a public diary.

700k campaign

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700k campaign

Swipe Files & Campaign Walkthrough

The “Take-Away” Direct Mail Campaign That Generated $700,000 of Sales from a Small Burnt-Out Email List (Without Having Any of the Subscribers Postal Details).

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