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(Ship my Pants) or Harness the Power of Humor in Corporate Videos

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Apr 14, 2013 0 Comments

I was always amazed how quickly a joke would get crafted. Then just by word of mouth it would somehow spread across the entire country within 24 hours, and that was before we had the internet. Today it happens in 15 minutes. Good comedy is like being given something. It’s a good laugh and it helps lighten someones day. They are internally thankful to you for having done that good deed. Don’t believe me just take a look at Kmart’s new piece. People are now talking about shopping at Kmart because the people who watched it had an LOL experience that instantly changed how they now perceive Kmart’s previously staid image.

The piece is called “Ship my Pants”. F’n brilliant. Don’t get it, try saying it out load, I mean out loud. The overwhelmingly positive response to this piece shows that people are actually very open to this type of humor.

Comedy corporate videos address different needs, from acknowledging hard-working staff to humanizing the bosses, or just plain selling product on a B2B basis. But all of them rely on humor to grab the viewer’s attention and hold it.

“Humor can provide a connection or insight,” says Jacki Schklar, marketing strategist for an Atlanta, Georgia, medical/tech company and publisher of funnynotslutty.com and comedyrants.com. “But most importantly, it can keep viewers from losing interest, or some cases, clicking away.”

“Plain and simple, humor is memorable, and if you can take a non-funny topic and make it funny, even better!” says Greg Schwem, a corporate comedian and motivational comic.

So how can corporate video producers create funny videos that will amuse and engage their audiences? The answer is to understand what kind of humor works and what doesn’t.

“Humor often revolves around shared pain-points,” Keller says. “This means tying into observations and situations an audience member can relate to from firsthand experience.”

“Humor also takes a serious brand, and lets fans know that it can be lighthearted, whimsical, and fun,” says Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media, a radio consultancy and app-creation firm. This is the logic of the Microsoft “Da Da Da” spot, and also of the Gates/Ballmer “What Is Love” send-up, which makes fun of their appearance before Congress by having the two point blame at each other in Three Stooges fashion.

“Self-depreciating humor is often a good idea, or looking at the universal absurdity of life,” advises Jacki Schklar. Either form works, because it doesn’t insult the audience, or pick on any specific racial, ethnic, or cultural group. “Insult humor can backfire as no-one likes a bully,” she warns. “Political correctness is [also] paramount in any corporate setting, even when you are using parody or satire.”

Absurd juxtapositions — a staple of Monty Python humor — are also good bets if they are done smartly. “When we were launching a $100,000 ‘carrier class’ router at Cisco, since the announcement was in early February, we created a commercial touting the hardware as the perfect gift for your valentine,” said Tim Washer, Cisco’s senior marketing manager. “It was completely ridiculous, but it made people laugh. It also demonstrated that while we are confident enough in our brand to have a little fun with it, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. People appreciate that a great deal.”

by James Careless

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