In an insightful TED Talk, complexity theorist Hannah Fry shares some interesting data from the world of online dating.
In their profile pictures, most people try to minimize the characteristics that they believe some will find unattractive. If you're bald, you wear a hat. If you're overweight, you crop your photo conveniently. People play it safe and do their best to be as generically good-looking as possible.
And you would assume that the people who are rated as more attractive on average would be the same people who receive the most messages and interest.
Well, apparently you'd be wrong. It turns out the most popular people on dating sites are those who divide opinion. In the example above it's actually Sarah Jessica Parker who would get more interest, not Portia de Rossi (despite being rated as more attractive).
Let's extrapolate: what does this mean for brands?
Play it safe and you'll miss out. Take a risk and you'll stand out. You're better off getting 5,000 dislikes and 5,000 likes than you are getting 10,000 likes and 0 dislikes. When opinion is divided people have something to fight for, and that means more loyalty.
So more power to Airbnb for having a logo that looks like a vagina.
More power to Marmite.
And though it pains me, more power to O2 for their annoying "be more dog" campaign, because I f***ing hate that campaign.