Is there sense in humour?
Will Rolls
DigitasLBi
Humour rules the internet.
What would the Internet be without funny things?
Cat pics, multiplayer games, porn and LinkedIn endorsements
These were the most shared videos on YouTube 2013
Dove Evian K-Mart
Budweiser Pepsi Ram Trucks
Three H&M Audi
Source: Unru...
These were the ones that were funny
Dove Evian K-Mart
Budweiser Pepsi Ram Trucks
Three H&M Audi
Source: Unruly Media
They’re good ads. They make you smile. But despite having deeper pockets, brands aren’t
making the truly funny stuff; the ...
Lesson number 1:
Don’t try to make everyone
laugh
Humour is difficult to research
Fear is a near-universal response
Sex is a near-universal response
Hunger is a near-universal response
And the funny thing about
funny?
For every person amused by something…
One is not amused
Humour is complex, and so brands experience barriers to being funny
One is not amused
Let’s watch this baked beans ad
Unlike fearBut imagine you’ve got to sell the idea in here.
(That ad was never sold to the brand, as the brand doesn’t exist)
The barriers that brands experience
• Things only become funny in production, not at concept
level
• It‘s tricky to test h...
So people play safe, adapting proven concepts
Der Tourist: ‘Supergeil’
A proven cult phenomenon on YouTube
Edeka: ‘Superge...
Adapting a concept works, but then where
can you take it?
It’s not yours to ‘take’.
Creating original humour is worth the pain.
And the gain is enormous.
As long as you realise that the best humour
has neve...
Success in comedy is like anything else:
If you try to be to everyone’s liking, you’ll be to no one’s taste.
According to Millward Brown, using
distinctive themes allow brands to outperform
the competition by up to 300%.
Example: A small flower company sets its up
its own Twitter account and its own brand of
surreal humour. Not everyone gets...
Lesson number 2:
Work with funny people
Money is always an issue…
Can a brand ‘own’ a subject in the digital age?
Which brands have managed this, and which models can we learn from?
We hav...
Yet funny content can have rock-bottom
production costs.
Oreos were spontaneous and nimble
Sainsbury’s gave us an ‘aaah’
But don’t mistake low production cost for low cost.
Talent costs money
Work with professionals.
Your agency is a group of professionals; for
many things; your strategy, your co-
ordination, you...
And if we’re hiring professionals
There are professionals who make people
laugh*.
*comedians and comedy writers
If humour is part of a long-term strategy,
make managing comedy talent a challenge,
and ensure that you invest solidly.
Fu...
Lesson number 3:
Ideas must work in more than
just the one channel.
It’s #ITBBerlin, so let’s look at
some travel examples
Travel is about either:
a) getting to a destination or
b) the destination itself.
With destinations, you can play to
stere...
Comedy gold?
Whereas getting there is a logistical matter of
price, safety and peace of mind.
Could, say, an airline be funny?
JetBlue Airways can
Air New Zealand can
YouTube Video – 11m views
Air New Zealand keeps things amusing across the board
Facebook Cover Pic
Air New Zealand on Twitter
Tweet re new plane
Even with a change of subject, Air New Zealand
maintains its twinkle in the eye
An idea has to be strong
enough to work across all
your channels.
And not just your own channels.
Genuinely funny stuff begins its virality on channels like this.
They can’t be bought – it...
Case study: low production
Insurance isn’t entertaining.
But we have to find a way to get people to
think about their premiums.
Asstel Insurance
Take Bruce Willis in Die Hard, a man with potentially high premiums
See the film through the horrified eyes of an insurer
Make it interactive
Case study: zero production
“88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot”
Vic Reeves
Get inspiration from a comedy genius
0 0 1
Create a Twitter account with an absurd idea
of no practical use to anyone.
Made-up stats
@madeupstats
0 0 1
Spread made-up statistics that contain a
grain of real-life truth.
Made-up stats
@madeupstats
3,696 2,434 61.4K
Over 60,000 users later, draw some lessons.
Made-up stats
@madeupstats
Smaller lessons
• Observational humour that people can relate to gets shared.
• Be topical, which works against rigid edit...
The final word:
Be brave, honest, original, and
if you’re laughing...
(it’s probably good)
DigitasLBi
www.digitaslbi.de
@willrolls
Is there sense in humour?
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Is there sense in humour?

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Nothing spreads online like funny content. And brands have budgets and talented agencies. So why are brands underachievers when it comes to producing truly funny content?

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Is there sense in humour?

  1. 1. Is there sense in humour? Will Rolls DigitasLBi
  2. 2. Humour rules the internet.
  3. 3. What would the Internet be without funny things? Cat pics, multiplayer games, porn and LinkedIn endorsements
  4. 4. These were the most shared videos on YouTube 2013 Dove Evian K-Mart Budweiser Pepsi Ram Trucks Three H&M Audi Source: Unruly Media
  5. 5. These were the ones that were funny Dove Evian K-Mart Budweiser Pepsi Ram Trucks Three H&M Audi Source: Unruly Media
  6. 6. They’re good ads. They make you smile. But despite having deeper pockets, brands aren’t making the truly funny stuff; the stuff that makes people laugh. The comedy gold is being made by people you’ve never heard of. Why?
  7. 7. Lesson number 1: Don’t try to make everyone laugh
  8. 8. Humour is difficult to research
  9. 9. Fear is a near-universal response
  10. 10. Sex is a near-universal response
  11. 11. Hunger is a near-universal response
  12. 12. And the funny thing about funny?
  13. 13. For every person amused by something…
  14. 14. One is not amused
  15. 15. Humour is complex, and so brands experience barriers to being funny
  16. 16. One is not amused Let’s watch this baked beans ad
  17. 17. Unlike fearBut imagine you’ve got to sell the idea in here.
  18. 18. (That ad was never sold to the brand, as the brand doesn’t exist)
  19. 19. The barriers that brands experience • Things only become funny in production, not at concept level • It‘s tricky to test humour before production starts • Funny single executions are easier than funny ongoing ideas, and brands want to buy the latter • Social media is tricky enough without needing to make people laugh at the same time • There’s a risk of offence • There’s a risk of no one laughing
  20. 20. So people play safe, adapting proven concepts Der Tourist: ‘Supergeil’ A proven cult phenomenon on YouTube Edeka: ‘Supergeil’ Based on a proven phenomenon, this was not a risky move.
  21. 21. Adapting a concept works, but then where can you take it? It’s not yours to ‘take’.
  22. 22. Creating original humour is worth the pain. And the gain is enormous. As long as you realise that the best humour has never appealed to everyone.
  23. 23. Success in comedy is like anything else: If you try to be to everyone’s liking, you’ll be to no one’s taste.
  24. 24. According to Millward Brown, using distinctive themes allow brands to outperform the competition by up to 300%.
  25. 25. Example: A small flower company sets its up its own Twitter account and its own brand of surreal humour. Not everyone gets it, but 20,000 people do.
  26. 26. Lesson number 2: Work with funny people
  27. 27. Money is always an issue…
  28. 28. Can a brand ‘own’ a subject in the digital age? Which brands have managed this, and which models can we learn from? We have identified three potential approaches to this subject. And creating content can seem daunting
  29. 29. Yet funny content can have rock-bottom production costs.
  30. 30. Oreos were spontaneous and nimble
  31. 31. Sainsbury’s gave us an ‘aaah’
  32. 32. But don’t mistake low production cost for low cost.
  33. 33. Talent costs money
  34. 34. Work with professionals. Your agency is a group of professionals; for many things; your strategy, your co- ordination, your brand guardian, your creativity.
  35. 35. And if we’re hiring professionals
  36. 36. There are professionals who make people laugh*.
  37. 37. *comedians and comedy writers
  38. 38. If humour is part of a long-term strategy, make managing comedy talent a challenge, and ensure that you invest solidly. Funny professionals create funnier stuff, and are better at selling it in.
  39. 39. Lesson number 3: Ideas must work in more than just the one channel.
  40. 40. It’s #ITBBerlin, so let’s look at some travel examples
  41. 41. Travel is about either: a) getting to a destination or b) the destination itself. With destinations, you can play to stereotypes…
  42. 42. Comedy gold?
  43. 43. Whereas getting there is a logistical matter of price, safety and peace of mind.
  44. 44. Could, say, an airline be funny?
  45. 45. JetBlue Airways can
  46. 46. Air New Zealand can YouTube Video – 11m views
  47. 47. Air New Zealand keeps things amusing across the board Facebook Cover Pic
  48. 48. Air New Zealand on Twitter Tweet re new plane
  49. 49. Even with a change of subject, Air New Zealand maintains its twinkle in the eye
  50. 50. An idea has to be strong enough to work across all your channels.
  51. 51. And not just your own channels. Genuinely funny stuff begins its virality on channels like this. They can’t be bought – it is simply survival of the most entertaining.
  52. 52. Case study: low production
  53. 53. Insurance isn’t entertaining. But we have to find a way to get people to think about their premiums.
  54. 54. Asstel Insurance Take Bruce Willis in Die Hard, a man with potentially high premiums
  55. 55. See the film through the horrified eyes of an insurer
  56. 56. Make it interactive
  57. 57. Case study: zero production
  58. 58. “88.2% of statistics are made up on the spot” Vic Reeves Get inspiration from a comedy genius
  59. 59. 0 0 1 Create a Twitter account with an absurd idea of no practical use to anyone. Made-up stats @madeupstats
  60. 60. 0 0 1 Spread made-up statistics that contain a grain of real-life truth. Made-up stats @madeupstats
  61. 61. 3,696 2,434 61.4K Over 60,000 users later, draw some lessons. Made-up stats @madeupstats
  62. 62. Smaller lessons • Observational humour that people can relate to gets shared. • Be topical, which works against rigid editorial plans. • However: a 24-hour incubation period works for funny content. If it survives the night, post it. • Don’t re-style and repeat a joke – move on. • Get a brand seen more by dialling it down. • Don’t adopt a tone of voice you can’t get out of. • Form alliances. Funny isn’t an arms race.
  63. 63. The final word: Be brave, honest, original, and if you’re laughing... (it’s probably good)
  64. 64. DigitasLBi www.digitaslbi.de @willrolls

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