Can You Afford Not to Be Funny?

In the past when Heights Media Group launched products for ourselves or on behalf of clients, a common debate was whether or not we should use humor as a marketing component. Generally when a client is launching a “serious productâ€� there is misnomer (IMO) that the product or company will not be taken seriously if humor is used. It’s a misnomer because most clients assume that humor-based marketing is an all or nothing affair.

It’s my belief that in today’s market, video is a necessary component for any campaign: it’s low cost, viral, engaging and trackable. Because video is necessary, so is humor. Humor, without question, produces the best video content in terms of reach and engagement. Plus using humor is free!

Take a look at these two images captured from Youtube. The first is the view count for the most watched Ted Talk video on Youtube. Ted Talks are where the smartest folks in the world give an inspiring 20 minute talk.

tony-robbins-ted

Now compare the Ted Video’s view count (676,945 views) with this the top video from a search for Will Ferrell

4,776,391 views for Will! Now take a look at the view counts for the famous Blendtec commercials where a blender company uses its product to blend things such as an iPhone. (5,339,496 views)

Across the board, the videos that use humor crush videos that are simply smart or even those that are ‘well filmed’ — every time. Even Obama Girl’s view counts are higher than most Obama-endorsed own ads.

I believe you can use humor as a segment of a campaign and still be taken seriously. The reason that humor is an effective marketing tools is that it can be used to attract an audience that would not normally care about your product, thereby extending your reach. Additionally humor can be a significant differentiator among competing products or services. Finally – and take note here — humor can actually be smart. A great video can use humor and still get across a serious message.

What do you think? Can you use humor and still be taken seriously? Is there another reason why you’re not using humor/video in current campaigns?

***As an aside, in researching this post I figured I’d see what the master of marketing, Seth Godin, had to say about humor. After running several searches on his blog, it seems like Seth doesn’t really address the role of humor in marketing…interesting

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