What marketers can learn from Netflix’s The Tiger King

Joe Exotic

If you haven’t watched Netflix’s latest docuseries The Tiger King yet then what have you been doing? Unless you’re a very busy key worker, you’ve got no excuse for not tuning into this small-screen masterpiece.

The series tells of Joe Exotic, also known as The Tiger King, an Oklahoma native famed for running of the USA’s biggest (and most controversial) private zoos. With tales of bigamy, arson, cults and even attempted assassinations, The Tiger King has to be one of the greatest things the network has produced since Don’t F** With Cats, Abducted in Plain Sight and even Making a Murderer.

Following last week’s tales of my mental health woes during lockdown, I thought I’d write something a little more lighthearted. Bear in mind, this is (mostly) all tongue-in-cheek and I don’t professionally recommend following any of these tips unless you want to share a cell with Joe himself. 

If your competitor is doing something you like, just steal it.

As a marketing consultant, one of my favourite parts of the show had to be when Joe Exotic and his team at the zoo stole the name, logo and entire brand from Big Cat Rescue and so Big Cat Entertainment was born. 

Honestly, this was a smart (but clearly unethical) strategy to steal his rival’s top spot on Google and, for that, I take my hat off to Joe.

Branch out into new areas

So, you’re got a shitload of big cats to feed and the Walmart meat truck is looking a little bare… why not start your own TV channel? Even better, hire a professional documentary maker to film you for a reality TV show and have him help you grow your own network at the same time. Don’t worry if you don’t like the footage he films, you can always burn it later.

Be careful who you go into business with

When it comes to running a successful business, trust is vital. So, when a multi-millionaire with leather for skin and a stunning redhead wife offer to bankroll you, think twice. What are his real intentions? And has he put a spy in your camp? I’d check the bathtub, if I were you.

Build your personal brand

You’ve heard it all before – your personal brand is one of the most powerful marketing tools you can have. Make the most of it and shake what you’re momma gave you. Flex those creative muscles and become the next big country star, Lord knows we don’t already have enough of those.

Keep politics out of it

It may be tempting to take your personal brand onto the political landscape, but that might not be a good idea. The likelihood is that it’ll cost you a fortune and you’ll get nothing in return, not even a hit record.

You’re not special

In reality, there is little difference between you and your competitors. Sure, you are a serial bigamist and they are running a sex cult or losing husbands left, right and centre, but you’re all cut from the same cloth. Make every effort to stand out from the crowd. Cut your mullet, polish your eyebrow piercing, shout at your staff… and when that doesn’t work you can always put a hit out and deal with the competition that way.


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