Branding with a Punchline

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A good punch line can really leave an impression. A bad joke can also get a firm reaction–usually an eye roll! The Above Average sponsored panel spoke on behalf of the method of using comedic impressions to excel brands. Yet, comedy isn’t a simple algorithm anyone can figure out, it is a “learn as you go” and “succeed in time” kind of technique. Panelists Chioke Nassor, John Lutz, Jennifer Danielson and Alissa Pollack, with moderator David Lang, reached into their memories to find different instances and stories that pertained to the challenging phenomena of comedic commercial work.

An example from Above Average, presented to the audience, showed many cuts and snippets of how comedy can really show off an object by poking fun at it, but also leaving a lasting memory of the product in the audience’s mind. When using mockery, one balances on a fine line between humor and insult. I have learned both in advertising and in life, you can give someone the opportunity to laugh with you, at yourself, but there is a point when it becomes mean and the effectiveness recedes away from success.

Thankfully the panel involved many points of view, including the connection with music, the actor and director perspectives, and the production company’s goals. Pollack from iHeartMedia explained comedy and music really go hand in hand; they both have an emotional influence on decision-making! The music connections and use of comedy have really made great impacts on the advertising industry.

Pollack spoke about the use of data and how it has altered the research and strategy phase of a campaign, especially when using comedy. The data and digital media statistics help predict the upcoming trends in the industry. They also help present companies with the accurate spokesperson for their campaign. Active users on different media platforms are more useful than more popular users. Those who are willing to participate and do what they can are going to be more useful than the super star who has many fans. Lutz agreed with the argument stating, up and coming comedians can be a better choice for commercials because people focus on their genuine humor rather than the comedian’s name from publicity and fame.

At this time in the presentation, the classic Chex Mix was revamped with a comedic commercial bit. Snackstreet’s back! All right! The competition between Snackstreet and the Backstreet Boys is fierce in a throwback into the start of the Backstreet Boys. The funny commercial worked beautifully considering the Backstreet Boys actually made an appearance, the poke fun at the history of boy bands and the clear consumer’s remembrance of the Chex Mix product. The panelist spoke on behalf of the Backstreet Boys explaining, comfort is vital when it comes to humor. You cannot make someone laugh at him or herself, but if you get them comfortable enough they will do it themselves, thus creating success. Content and humor create an effective outcome.

Advertising and content have to complement each other. You cannot persuade if your information is wrong or not memorable. The story and the consumer come first, Danielson explained, followed by the brand, but you must also understand the brand and desired voice. This tricky combination of give and take is what makes the success of comedy in advertising and branding that much sweeter!

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