I once met a clown. A real, third generation professional clown from a family who had alternately worked with Barnum & Bailey, Ringling Brothers, and smaller local theatre and circuses. I met him in a campsite where he was waiting on his next professional circus tour (yes, there are seasons for such a thing, much like sports have) and conducting street art while teaching Mime as a way to entertain himself. Out of costume, that man was every bit as creepy as you might expect from his stage routine. I was between photo sessions for camping gear with a few days of recreation and had nowhere better to be. I have never been so happy to move along when my next job started as I was to get out of that bizarre clown camp.
Which brings me to the question of the day: if you want to add humor to your marketing, is it as simple as just “clowning around?” Maybe not. Let’s explore…
In traditional terms, a clown is an actor who plays a minor role within a particular comedic acting style until finding a better job. Cigars for the men, flowers for ladies, and candy for children magically appear while everyone laughs at a great performance. A clown would provide entertainment, “something for everyone,” and was a great marketing tool to draw interest toward the products and services a business offered. What people didn’t realize was although those actors provided a fun performance, they were only acting the role of what real clowns are, which is much less fun both in theory and reality.
Funny vs. Creepy Clowns and What’s Good for Business?
Funny clowns are actors and comedians who use the act as part of the character they’ve built. The idea of being silly, fun, and playful intrigues children and adults alike. Understanding what an audience enjoys is key to a successful performance, and is even more important when drawing potential customers to your business interests and how you can help their own financial interests find fruition with a bit of comedy to enhance the appeal potential clients may find.
Creepy Clowns, on the other hand, are something nobody likes and will never be funny nor help promote a business endeavor. Likewise, tasteless jokes aren’t funny. “Knock, knock, who’s there, orange you glad it’s a kiwi fruit?” Such a joke might not be as funny as the vulgarities you hear in a Comedy Club, but will appeal to the audience you want to find when advertising a professional service. In this case, the audience are potential customers who might be offended by particular brands of humor but also want to know how you, as a person, have a sense of humor and can relate to them.
Inside Jokes with Unremarkable Punchlines
Clown jokes were once refreshing and new, as were jokes about how many elephants can fit in a Volkswagen. In the world of marketing, we must understand how to use refreshingly delightful humor to entertain clients rather than telling tired old jokes because they were once funny. I don’t doubt how hilarious it was when that one thing happened, but none of your clients have the slightest clue as to what you’re talking about, nor are they interested in the personal inside jokes you have with your close friends.
Determining What is Actually Funny
What is really funny, the definition of comedy, is that it makes people laugh. Neither offensive concepts nor defensive language is going to draw the reaction you want from a mass audience. What will be more effective is a professional attitude and proven results through the services you provide, and a clever joke which personifies yourself and your abilities to perform the job at hand. The fact that I cried while my 3-month old niece laughed at me the first time I learned how to change a diaper is something everyone can relate to, simply because baby-poo is always a great joke. Creepy clown in your bushes, not so much, unless it really, truly works for your brand.
Expressing the Message of Marketing Your Product and Services
The final message and take-away from this article should be to enjoy marketing your skills and talents. Make jokes, have fun! At the same time, you can be an adult and a professional who relates to the needs of your clients and makes them feel comfortable hiring you. Clients hire providers based on two criteria. The first is that they trust the provider, which is based on how the service is presented and what is offered to to make the client’s job easier. The second is whether or not they actually “like” the person providing the service, which is a more intuitive concept answered by a sense of humor backed up by tangible performance. But not necessarily one involving a red nose and rainbow-colored wig!
Andrew M‘s most recent work history involves giving consultations and writing. Business propositions, sales pitches, marketing material and informational articles are some types of writing he conducts for his clients. Most of these are oriented toward the construction trade, architectural field, real estate market, or small business operations that Drew has extensive experience with.