Since the advent of digital, the number of brands using humor to deliver their messages has grown markedly. One can only surmise that this is because humor “works.” It works at both connecting brands to audiences and at reshaping brand imagery in powerful ways.
Of course, humor doesn’t always deliver results for brands. Many have tried to “do” humor and have flopped. Sometimes the jokes get overshadowed by the ferric fist of brand identity. Sometimes we laugh at the ad and forget the brand. And sometimes the humor is gratuitous — a way to attract attention, but not shaped to serve brand messaging goals.
Humor is hard to do, but perhaps even harder is crafting funny programs and messages that deliver real brand benefits. As we all know, assessing the impact of any creative on brand strength is pretty squishy science. But we can identify creative programs that drove buzz and virality online, and through this identification process attempt to tease out some core principles of brand beneficial humor.
Consumers appear to have a much higher level of tolerance for edgy content when it’s online. A big factor in this is that we can more accurately pinpoint target segments and deliver messages attuned to their particular tolerances, rather than the limited tolerance of the most conservative members of society.
Caterer.com: Little Gordon
Gordon Ramsay has created a powerful personal brand among foodies and through his four-letter-centric approach to running restaurants. A jobs website for hospitality employees was very successful in using the Ramsay brand to connect with restaurant insiders. First, see a clip of expletive-hurling Gordon Ramsay, then one of the viral messages created for Caterer.com.
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