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Comedy a serious business


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Comedy a serious business

  1. 1. Comedy: A Serious Business All images and content © Copyright Twist & Shout Communications Ltd. 2013 Web: • Email: Blog: • Tel: +44 (0)844 335 6715
  2. 2. Introduction So you think that your business is it too serious, or too important to make light of? Surely, what IS important is that you are noticed and remembered in a world where the noise is constant, and the attention of customers or employees is the most valuable asset there is. We think that you business is too important to ignore the use of comedy. Ask any communications professional and they will say that their greatest challenge is to engage their audience, to make the message memorable. Laughter is the answer. The OneWhere... As people, rather than employees, we instinctively want to connect with characters and situations we recognise. Comedy can provoke that visceral reaction, no matter what the setting. Everybody hates being preached to, but by creating characters we can all relate to, important issues can be addressed. Characters can be recognisable but highly exaggerated ….. Misguided, over-enthusiastic, naive. Not forgetting the hero, a well- intentioned character surrounded by madness; we’ve all been there!
  3. 3. 6.0 It’s a strange paradox that we are all people, until we get into the office and become ‘employees’. Consider what they do out of choice – cinema, theatre, TV – and use that as your engagement channel. Shot to the Heart • Comedy is used in every other area, from advertising to drama, to talk directly to people. The most successful advertising campaigns have made us laugh, and the most poignant emotional dramas used humour to make us really invest in the characters and the issues. What the World Needs Now • Making people smile gets people sharing and talking about the issues that matter. If you create a piece of entertainment that gets under the skin of the viewer and, like a great film or television programme, they enthuse about it and encourage others to watch, then the effectiveness goes through the roof. • Employees quickly become fans, seeking out more material and following the story. Then you have something with real equity on your hands. Making it Sticky • The comedic situations are always born from a serious issue. The two are fundamentally linked - so when you remember the joke, you remember the lesson. Because they’re worth it • Like all people, employees like to feel cherished, and are hugely grateful to organisations that give them training materials that seek to entertain, rather than tick a box. Their opinion of their firm will grow too – how cool are we? What has comedy ever done for us?
  4. 4. We Are All Individuals! Of course humour can be very personal. One man’s Bill Cosby is another man’s Bill Hicks. The trick is to get the balance right. To be sensitive to people’s personal values whilst at the same time, not diluting the jokes to homeopathic levels. Playing it too safe can cause more problems than it solves. There’s a risk of patronising the audience and creating something too bland to be remembered, rendering the whole effort redundant. The skill is in combining all the elements of the campaign, ensuring that it’s possible to“dial”up or down the comedic intensity. Even the most conservative of companies have been surprised by how well the comic approach has gone down with their staff. “Loved the video!! Very well done... Entertaining yet delivered the point. Can’t wait for the next one and I already made sure my entire team watched this!” T&B (Verizon - Marketing) “Just wanted to say that Office World is awesome. This is a great concept that allows you to instruct the field with the proper procedures with an entertainment value which is totally different than the normal productions that have you bored and not engaged. Excellent Job!” VSO (Verizon - Fleet) 5.0
  5. 5. There are three things you should know In our experience, the effect of bold, relatable characters telling a story is still much more effective than a traditional corporate video. If we look to TV and movies we see that comedies, such as Friends, Seinfeld and The Office travel successfully and sell around the world. They all follow the same golden rules; 1. They avoid writing material that relies on puns, word plays, slang, colloquial expressions, ambiguous words or other subtleties of language which won’t translate. 2. They create colourful and visual sketches where it’s easy to see what’s happening 3. They‘Internationalise’by being generic rather than specific. It’s‘Central Perk’not Starbucks 4. They write sketches that are concerned with basic human character and situation. “It’s fair to say we had hesitation about rolling ‘The Risk!’ internationally and we are a very conservative and generally risk adverse bank but it worked very well. The effort of subtitling resonated well with the global staff and the messages worked - you’d produced a product that had a text that worked directly even in the unlikely event that some staff couldn’t grasp the subtext of the humour. We’ve tracked global uptake and humorous content has worked the best to grab mindshare and attention in a cluttered internal comms world.” Stephen Bonner, Barclays Bank Plc.
  6. 6. Of course, there are always going to horror stories where people have“had a go”at using humour, and it has backfired, or is simply not very funny. But then that’s the same with every initiative. The rules still apply. Understand your culture, and assess the timing. It’s not a good time to make comedy when the redundancies have just been announced. Also – we would argue that playing it safe is a waste of resources. Remember – you can’t make anyone do anything. There has to be something in it for them. And that includes a good laugh. We look forward to hearing from you. Finally… Be BraveConclusion   employees  and  help  to  influence  real  change,  through   improved  communications.  We  believe  that  entertainment  is   the  perfect  vehicle  for  communicating  this  message  to  your   audience  and  setting  Michelin  up  as  true  thought  leaders.     We  would  be  proud  to  work  with  you  and  to  be  a  part  of  your   will  be  very  short  indeed.     We  look  forward  to  your  feedback.   Jim Shields Creative Director Twist & Shout Communications tel: +44 (0)844 335 6715
  7. 7. © Copyright Twist & Shout Communications 2013 Web: • Email: • Blog: • Tel: +44 (0)844 335 6715 Twist & Shout Communications Ltd, LCB Depot, 31 Rutland Street, Leicester, LE1 1RE Company Number - 4495187 VAT Number - 862 0153 51