Wednesday, 16 December 2015

#nanonthetown: 5 Other Ways Companies Use Humor In Their Favor

With more than a few John Lewis spoof ads now doing the rounds, Christmas advertising is proof that whilst some companies opt for gut-wrenching tearjerkers, others prefer the lighter side.



Whether it is through social media, TV advertising or corporate videos, there are more ways than ever for companies to show consumers their sense of humour. While this can often backfire, it can also be an extremely effective marketing tool as a way for businesses to both show their personality and set themselves apart from the competition.
Here are five other ways businesses have managed to leverage laughter in their favour.

Crisis Management

In August 2014 the Greggs bakery chain went through a PR nightmare as an offensive spoof logo began to appear when their company name was searched in Google. After the company was alerted to the issue it took to Twitter to attempt some damage control (and reputation management).


 While the mix-up was embarrassing the company was universally applauded for its humorous reaction. These included tweets such as the one below, sent to the Twitter account for Google UK while the search engine attempted to fix the problem.




 Customer Relations
A tweet by catalogue retailer Argos suddenly went viral in March 2014 after the company responded in kind to a tweet from a dissatisfied customer. While TV adverts necessarily are required to have a wide appeal, social media gives many businesses the opportunity to interact with their customers on an individual basis.





 Addressing customer issues individually is a customer service ideal that most businesses strive for, but it can often be difficult to maintain long term. Social media helps companies quickly and spontaneously connect with their customers at a personal level and in an informal forum.
Businesses have the opportunity to answer customer questions sincerely, allowing not only the personality of the brand but the personalities of individual employees to shine through.

Attracting New Employees

Recent studies have shown that younger candidates in particular are ‘not looking to fill a slot in a faceless company’, and nothing shows potential new employees the personality of a particular organisation than their online presence.
In addition to its own social platform Twitter also has an active presence on YouTube, and produces frequent videos on charity drives and sport events, as well as explainer videos describing new features and services.
The video below formed part of a 2012 campaign to encourage applications for vacant positions at the company, while also providing a humorous look at some of the most common mistakes made in corporate recruitment videos.



A vibrant brand personality does not have to stop with public image, a light-hearted approach can be effective at all levels of business.

A Way To “Go Viral”

One of the most famous US advertising campaigns in recent history is arguably the Budweiser commercial, first aired in 1999, which popularised the phrase “wassup”.


This advert set a precedent for popular quotable and shareable content and was followed in later years by brands such as Old Spice, which came to prominence with its “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. The cleverly imagined advert was not only memorable but subverted the uniformity of most fragrance advertising.

Establishing a Brand Identity

Irn Bru, the famously bright orange Scottish soda, has earned a reputation for producing quirky and humorous TV adverts. The tongue-in-cheek and often slightly risque adverts have become something of a cultural fixture, with one in particular becoming a highly-anticipated part of the Christmas season.



While many of its attempts at humour have been controversial, the company continues to push the envelope in both its video adverts and marketing campaigns. One recently produced advert has been banned from appearing on television before 9pm in the UK. The company produced Irn Bru bottles with “typical” Scottish names, parodying a preceding Coca-Cola campaign.
These strategies relied on word of mouth to work as an advertising tool to bolster sales and brand awareness. Companies such as Irn Bru have realised the value of a creating content with proven potential to go viral, namely humorous content that provokes discussion and controversy.
Social media platforms have changed the way that we understand word of mouth as a marketing tool. What was once microcosmic and local now has global reach, and an international audience that appreciate companies willing to show their lighter side.

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