You’ll Never Guess How This Independent Agency Used Clickbait for a Good Cause

By Erik Oster 

You’ve seen the headlines.

“Florida Man” has become synonymous with a certain type of crazy that seems to be highly concentered in The Sunshine State thanks to myriad headlines utilizing the phrase. A few recent highlights include, “Florida man steals sausage, jumps off bridge to avoid arrest,” “Florida man with suspended license drives lawnmower instead” and “Florida man crashes car into sheriff’s ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ unit.”

The phrase has spread through social media and become an internet trope, a ubiquitous enough phenomenon to spawn both its own Twitter page and subreddit.


22squared decided to combat the “Florida Man” stereotype while using clickbait featuring the phrase for a good cause and launched “The Florida Man Project” for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. The campaign utilizes “Florida Man” clickbait titles like “Florida man and boy struck by lightning!!! Caught on phone! and “Florida man attacked with can opener! Shocking video!!!” to drive traffic to short mentoring videos designed to help recruit volunteers, with geo-targeting aimed at Tampa area men.

The videos end with the message, “Be the man that makes Florida proud” (as opposed to the “Florida Man” of those embarrassing headlines).

“The ‘Florida Man’ is a regular source of Internet humor. Outrageous ‘Florida Man’ headlines are a popular share on social media, regularly breaking on the evening news and often making their way into the late night talk show circuit. The laughable buffoon depicted in people’s social media feeds is not the real Florida man,” 22squared creative director Matthew Zaifert explained in a statement. “The other is a Big Brother, the type of man that makes Florida proud. We are excited to reach real Florida men with this fun and compelling social campaign and welcome them to the rewarding Big Brothers Big Sisters experience.”

“Unfortunately, the struggle to recruit male volunteers is one we know very well. Fun and creative initiatives like this are a great way to refresh our marketing,” added Claire Selius, director of marketing and communications at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. “We’re always looking for outside of the box ways to recruit mentors, and this is a unique opportunity for that!”