The Importance of WAGAS

With the Big Game finishing up this weekend and the annual blitz of brands jockeying for consumer’s hearts and minds, it’s worth taking a look at one of my favorite terms, WAGAS. Its a filter I use when evaluating content, creative, etc. that stands for Would Anyone Give A Shit. Somewhat crass but it’s needed to be a no-nonsense filter on if what you’re working on will resonate. WAGAS is the filter that ties together areas including:

  • the Hook = WAGAS starts strong and typically has something in the immediate moments to grab a consumers attention. That initial grab is important, however if it doesn’t deliver after the hook is set the effects can be really bad. This is where dogsploitation, e.g. cute lab puppies and horses or Kate Upton can get immediate attention but they need a payoff.
  • Value Exchange + Social Currency = Is there a fair exchange in the consumer’s time or mindshare and what the brand is delivering. This could be done across a variety of measures, however one of the most popular is social currency. That is, something delivered from the brand that enhances the consumer’s role in their network(s). It could be a reference that supports conversation, connection, identity, advocacy, etc. From the ads this weekend, it could be a funny reference like the polar bear in the sombrero or a great line from the Dodge commercial, e.g. “Don’t Bitch”. WAGAS works great when that value exchange happens and a consumers gets something they can take with them for their time spent with the brand.
  • Investment = As part of the value exchange, if its a worthwhile transaction there should be an investment the consumer takes on, in many cases as a call-to-action. Could be as simple as a hashtag, link, sharing, etc. This is a best-case scenario as the consumer is doing something on behalf of the brand. A filter used frequently is “why would they care, why would they share” which takes the hint from WAGAS-worthy content and connects it to the investment of an action on behalf of the brand. This is the difference in consumer tweets “powering a car” in a race vs. just “who we think will win” with little payoff.

WAGAS isn’t about being “cool”, WAGAS is about being remarkable, that is someone would want to make a remark about it. It’s not always easy to achieve WAGAS but worth pursuing.


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