If you have paid any attention to some of the biggest online marketing campaigns you’ll know one thing for sure: Funny sells online. This is because laughter is deeply connected to happiness, and emotions are what truly drive people to share content. If you’re looking to use emotions to drive your online marketing, ‘happy’ is a good one for your customers to feel. Who wants them to feel scared? Or angry? No one outside of politics, I’ll say that.
To inspire you to bring the funny in your own online marketing I’m going to look at 3 brands who have nailed it:
- Dollar Shave Club
- Mountain Dew
- Old Spice
Each one of these 3 brands have made very funny content. This has driven their shares and brand engagements, while making millions of people smile.
Funny brands drive huge shares and engagement online
Dollar Shave Club: The viral video that launched an empire
And a very well groomed empire at that! The Dollar Shave Club was a brand that nobody, anywhere, knew anything about. They also had a sales strategy that was unfamiliar: You essentially bought a monthly subscription, like you would a magazine, for razors sent right to your house. The appeal was that the razors were cheap and convenient, the catch was that you only bought their razors.
To explain their brand concept to people, and for getting that message out there, they made one of the all-time funniest branded viral videos:
Okay, that may have seemed like a lot of silliness, but it was very, very clever marketing. Let’s break it down:
- Mike introduces himself, and his brand.
- He tells the viewer exactly what the company does.
- He uses an obscenely memorable slogan that’s spit-out-your-milk funny.
- Bursting through an orange paper door he takes us out into the factory, shows us the product, and starts making jokes about how easy it is to use.
- “I’m good at tennis.”
- “Looking good, Pop-pop.”
- Absurdly huge knife laugh combined with a pointless bear, both of which drive home the fact they’re going to deliver the product to you.
- More jokes are made about how they’re growing and creating new job opportunities, making you feel good about yourself amidst all the laughter that’s already making you feel good.
- Mike reminds you, after all those laughs, that he wants to save you money.
- Mike makes an auditory call to action to visit his website by saying the address.
- A party starts with an awesome, and silly, song: “I drive like a gangsta when I’m coming to see you…”
The video then closes with the brand logo, and displays the URL. Yes, we had a lot of laughs along the way, but we also learned about Dollar Shave Club. When you’re creating your funny video, don’t forget that you’re also trying to market your brand. Insert it subtly, just like Mike did, and when it goes viral it will get some serious brand recognition done for you, and drive some traffic.
Still laughing, but think you’re laughing at them? While hipsters are trying to ruin men’s faces with your great grandfather’s facial hair on a 20 year old, DSC was $90 million/year brand in just four years:
And was recently sold for $1 billion this year. That’s Dr. Evil money, all from one hilarious video perfectly explaining a very useful service.
Mountain Dew: Twitter’s class clowns
From our side of things, there’s nothing funny about the cola wars. We’re assaulted with ads of people drinking the most satisfying beverages all day long as they look flawless with glistening abs. It’s exhausting.
Mountain Dew decided to ditch the toned and tanned models of unquenchable thirsts and use humor when they started their Twitter marketing. This includes the unforgettable, but maybe you want to forget it, PuppyMonkeyBaby from Super Bowl 50:
— Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) February 8, 2016
Some absurdly grandiose pitches to get people voting and participating in an online campaign:
Bring Pitch Black back to America!
Vote now to keep it on shelves and stay tuned for more vids!https://t.co/RgaJPIQ4Ui
— Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) July 1, 2016
And then …there’s this:
— Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) May 26, 2016
The cat at the end went on to be tweeted out a few more times:
— Mountain Dew® (@MountainDew) May 27, 2016
Mountain Dew have gone full-on absurd as their strategy to get retweets and engagement on Twitter. It is the strategy they use from top to bottom, with a touch of absurdity via extreme sports and racing throw in, to build their brand.
This is not a strategy for the faint of heart. You need a very creative team, with some serious comedic skills, to pull this off day in and day out. Dollar Shave Club, from above, likely spent weeks, maybe months, planning that video and perfecting it. Mountain Dew’s Twitter strategy requires skills that are always sharp, and always ready for that next joke because Twitter moves fast.
May we never forget the Old Spice guy
Perhaps one of the biggest online successes of all-time is the Old Spice guy. We all know that first, famous ad of him titled ‘The Man your Man Could Smell Like’:
It combined humor with amazing visual tricks, and a little …a lot… of sex appeal. People shared it because it made them laugh. People shared it because it made them go ‘how did that work?!?’ People shared it because, come on, that is one absurdly handsome man.
So what? People laughed and shared video online …what’s the point? Right when these commercials launched Old Spice saw their sales climb 107%. Laughing all the way to the bank…
The true magic of this campaign wasn’t just that one 30 second laugh. Do you remember how deeply they engaged with their fans? Do you remember the question and answer videos which combined Twitter marketing and YouTube? Because if you don’t then you’re missing out on another huge idea for your online marketing:
That there is a playlist of 131 videos they created in response to questions that people submitted on Twitter. You can watch the whole thing if you have time, but I will tell you this: They are all funny, and they even feature questions from @TheEllen Show, Perez Hilton, Alyssa Milano had 4 videos made for her, and Rose McGowan got one too. All these celebrities, and everyday people, were side-by-side.
Having one funny video is great. Having 131 funny videos, speaking directly to fans and even interacting in real time with tweets? That. Is. Amazing. Never forget how this user-generated content truly built the Old Spice Guy into the online legend he is.
We all know, of course, that Old Spice didn’t stop there. They have gone on to create hilarious videos with Terry Crews:
They are still creating funny videos without these two stars, and have made humor the cornerstone of their entire marketing campaign both on and offline. This is an example of total commitment to humor as a brand storytelling device. I can only imagine what type of team they have built to do this, they’re some truly funny people.
The funny bone: The key bone in online marketing
Above you’ll have seen some of the most successful online marketing ever. Realizing that humor and online marketing go together well isn’t difficult to put together after seeing that, is it?
What’s really challenging is being funny.
Your online marketing team needs to put in real work if they want to be laughed with, instead of laughed at. The above examples should do plenty to inspire you to tickle funny bones, all while driving brand recognition and sales.
Over to You
What do you think of using humor in your online marketing efforts? Do you think it works in all industries and situations? Share your thoughts in the comments!