Turning laughs into lasting change, Comic Relief returns this year on 19 March and it’s got us thinking. It’s in our diaries not just because it’s a great cause, but because let’s be honest, laughter sells. It makes us happy and we need a good laugh right now.
Laughter is a powerful thing and the tricks of comedians are worth taking note of and learning from. The observations made by comedians are often very apt, get the biggest laughs and are memorable. If done right storytelling using comedy can be very powerful. Top of our ‘laugh out loud’ list right now for being so true to life are Peter Kay and his misheard song lyrics, and the hilarious trivial family antics of Michael Macintyre.
Lines from funny sketches often work their way into everyday life – “I have a cunning plan”, “Just like that”, “You plonker Rodney”, “I’m on the phone”, and the simple “Doh!” to name a few.
There have been some standout ads over the years too – ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ for example. The insights made by this campaign can be enjoyed by all, whatever your age and wherever you live. More recently we’ve been enjoying McDonald’s McCafe back to basics coffee campaign that laughs at coffee snobs and certainly rings true with those of us who just want good coffee. And, still going strong is Compare the market with its ‘Keep life simples’ campaign featuring the much-loved meerkats Aleksandr Orlov, Sergei and family. This was a risky comedy campaign that paid off.
Some oldies deserve a mention. Volkswagen’s Polo ‘Cops’ advert for its ‘Small but tough’ campaign is a great example of the power of humour so much so that it received Gunn Report #1 most-awarded print ad in the world. John West’s salmon TV ad is on many “funniest ad of all time” lists thanks to the unexpected scene of a man fighting a bear for a fish. And, John Smith’s ‘No Nonsense’ TV ad campaign starring Peter Kay was loved by people simply for its plain-speaking, no-nonsense approach to life.
The thing to take away here is that humour can work for any brand so long as it’s based on truth. So, next time you’re observing work-life and laughing get your note pad out. You might just be onto your next marketing campaign…