Think back to the last few Super Bowls. Which commercials do you remember the most? For me there are two that stand out: 1) the GoDaddy commercial that included a lot of build-up to their new GoDaddy girl, only to reveal Joan Rivers, and 2) the Doritos commercial where the pug charged through the glass door to attack the man teasing him on the other side, and of course, steal his Doritos.
Both of these commercials aired in the 2011 Super Bowl, more than a year and a half ago, yet I still remember them vividly. Why? Because they were creative, imaginative and made me laugh. I have always been able to remember funny things so much better than non-funny things, and it turns out science backs this up. I love it when that happens.
Here are some scientific benefits of laughter:
- Reduces stress hormone
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chances of heart attack and stroke
- Affects the brain cognitively, increasing intelligence, improving memory and ability to process information
Neato! Well, what does this have to do with marketing? Here are my completely un-scientific reasons why I think humor is effective in marketing, and why you should consider using it:
- People like to do business with people they like. If you can make someone laugh, they are much more likely to like you! This doesn't mean you have to be the class clown, but a little humor will go a long way in strengthening relationships.
- Things that are humorous have a much higher likelihood of being shared or "going viral." Upload a picture of yourself winning an award and no one cares. Upload a picture getting smacked in the face by your grandma swinging a baseball bat and you're an internet celebrity.
- Especially in the telecom world, using humor will help differentiate you from the rest of the "geek speak" marketing out there. I mean seriously, I get we are in a tech industry but sometimes the language on telecom marketing materials is about as interesting as a wet carrot.
- As noted in the science section above, humor improves memory. Getting people to remember you is part of your branding strategy (or it should be), so making them laugh will go a long way in solidifying your brand in their minds.
Real Life Examples
Don't think this applies to the telecom world? Think again!
Example #1: Last year we helped one of our clients launch a new website, and when it was completed they wanted to send an announcement to their customers and invite them to check it out. We made a parody email using the movie Napoleon Dynomite, including an image of the now-famed Pedro Sanchez.
The headline read, "If you visit our new website, all of your wildest dreams will come true." (Only those of you who saw the movie will get the reference.) Point is, that email got the best response of any email campaign we have ever done for them, and all it took was a little creative thinking and humor. It's now been over a year since we sent that email, and our client tells us people still talk about it with him.
Example #2: Need another example? Next time you attend a Channel Partners Conference & Expo, make sure to visit Dave Gilbert at the SimpleSignal booth. Some of their creative and humorous marketing of the past includes:
- "Hosted on a napkin" – Playing off the simplicity concept, they have actually printed hosted PBX diagrams on napkins.
- "Drink the Kool-aid" – They have served green Kool-aid in their booth which both emphasizes their brand color and plays off the "cult" theme by inviting you to be part of the club.
- T-shirts with funny phrases such as "I'm a Simple Man" and "We give good phone."
- And last but not least, you will rarely catch Dave without his trademark fedora hat. Funny? Maybe not. Quirky? Maybe yes. Memorable? Definitely.
In the next post I will share some more specific ideas on how you can incorporate humor into your marketing, but for now I'd like to hear from you. What are some of your most memorable marketing campaigns that used humor effectively? Please share in the comments below.