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Analyzing the Hype Around Hopper

He’s not hitting the road on a Harley, channeling a sociopathic criminal, or threatening Keanu and Sandra with a bomb on a bus. Rather, Dennis Hopper’s encouraging baby boomers to see an Ameriprise financial adviser.

Since it spun off from American Express, Ameriprise has targeted affluent baby boomers, whom they feel are headed into retirement without a solid financial plan. And according to an article from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Ameriprise launched a new series of ads, accompanied by Web spots, last month featuring the 71-year-old Hopper.

Concluding that Hopper has received “mixed reviews” is a gross understatement.

Some love the message that “dreams don”t retire” while others mock his “preachy delivery.” (One disgruntled viewee even posted parody ads on YouTube, which subsequently received roughly 20,000 hits.)

So is mockery really the sincerest form of flattery? And is this a case of any publicity is good publicity?

We all know that impact and memorability are integral in successful advertising. Ameriprise Chief Marketing Officer Kim Sharan told the Star Tribune that all this buzz, positive or negative, shows their message is resonating.

This is a prime example of a company caring less about controlling their message online and focusing more on leveraging viral marketing as a whole. At the end of the day, whether people love him or hate him, there”s no denying that there’s a lot of hype around Hopper.