‘Tis the season to examine our dark sides. Are you in?

While others are focusing on good cheer this month, we want to take a major reality check. Outside, the world is in the throes of its annual danse macabre. Animals are hibernating in the blackness. Not to mention humankind and all of the ravages we’ve endured—and created—in the past year.

Cover all of this death and decay up in sparkly white snow and twinkling lights? Go ahead—but that’s not our style.

In brands as in life, there is power in all of the dark, scary stuff. Death, decay, demons. Commerce, compulsions, catharsis. If brands exist to serve people—and people continue to experience as much pain and suffering as we always have—then the deepest, darkest muck is where we find our spark of potential.

The unlooked-at, the unspoken, the unsavory—all of these places harbor hidden gems. The road you fear to tread might just be uncharted territory, after all. And, for better or worse, all brands (and people) contain these rich, fertile, unexplored places. Lollipops and rainbows are nice—but when your brand speaks to my hidden depths (the kind we’re afraid to even search for online), we form an indelible bond.

So many brands are clamoring to "have a conversation" with their audiences. But—reality check—they don’t want to talk about rainbows and lollipops. Audiences want to be seen for who they really are, warts and all. And if they show you theirs, it’s only right that you return the favor.

Here are some brands we admire for going to the dark side:

Poo Pourri

Urbay Decay

The Cosmopolitan Hotel Vegas


Cards Against Humanity

What brands would you add to the list? Tell us here


House of Who, Inc