How A Thanksgiving Game of Cards Against Humanity Made Me Think About Better Marketing

If you haven’t played it by now, you’re missing out on the awkward and hilarious card game essential for any family holiday. In their own words, Cards Against Humanity is a “party game for horrible people”. “The game is simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a black card, and everyone else answers with their funniest white card.”

My younger sister, Casey, always wins. Is it because she’s the most horrible of us all? Well, maybe. But in all seriousness, her strategy is as simple as the game itself – know your audience. Meaning, when it’s my turn to ask the question, she throws out the Kanye West card knowing how much I like his music and dislike him as a person. And of course – I chose her card (and did so pretty much every hand).

This is what got me thinking about better marketing. Personalization! One of my favorite marketing buzzwords! Casey has a really good point. If you know your audience and you deliver what they relate to on a personal level (i.e. Kanye West), you as a brand will win.


Before Thanksgiving, I started listening to The Marketing Cloudcast podcast from Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and a relevant example shared by DonorsChooseCMO, Katie Bisbee, now comes to mind. It’s from a book she recommends everyone read, Drunk Tank Pink (which also happens to sound like a white card from Cards Against Humanity). Katie says, “It’s a book about marketing psychology and about how our environment shapes so many of our judgements and decisions but people may not be entirely aware of how.”

One of the “nuggets of information” from the book Katie went on to describe is that people are more likely to give to a natural disaster that shares their first initial. For example, I (Ally) would be more likely to donate to a Hurricane Alberto, Alma or Audrey than to Hurricane Katrina. (This must be why I feel compelled to be an Ally Bank customer every time I see one of their commercials).


If you don’t know DonorsChoose, they are a not-for-profit that enables public school teachers to create classroom project requests and that inspires donors to give any amount to the project that inspires them. In the spirit of the story above, Katie and her team produced an email marketing campaign that matched donors with teachers that shared their same last name. It was one of the most successful emails they’ve ever sent.

There are endless examples of smart marketing that align with Casey’s strategy of knowing your audience. So the question is – do you know yours?

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