Finding Your Funny: Marketing Inspiration from Comedy’s Greatest Minds

comedy minds
Comedy and marketing work together well – sometimes you inject a wisecrack or two into your blog or PPC ad, other times the wider concept of what’s funny helps inform the overall tone of your website or product packaging. Either way, being playful helps make you approachable. Take inspiration from the wise words of these comedic geniuses and watch your own campaigns flourish thanks to the fun factor.

I’ve always believed that there are funny people everywhere, but they’re just not comedians. In fact, some of my best comedic inspirations were not professional entertainers.” – Steve Martin

There are people who are funny on purpose and people who write with a purpose and happen to be funny. Embracing what’s naturally humorous about your brand or product is as authentic as it gets.  Connecting in that way – based on real situations that “real people” understand – is how brands successfully turn casual browsers into loyal consumers.

Look at the marketing campaigns that helped propel bathroom spray Poo-Pourri into the global spotlight. Ads build on potty humor may seem low brow at first, but they’re the kind of funny that’s accessible, and that matters when you’re trying to move a lot of product to a lot of people.

Don’t get bogged down in coming up with jokes or trying to emulate the cast of SNL – just be yourself, albeit a slightly more professional version, and let the funny naturally happen.

“Life is like one big Mardi Gras. But instead of showing your boobs, show people your brain, and if they like what they see, you’ll have more beads than you know what to do with.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Smart marketing may seem like quite the swerve after discussing a brand that once used the tagline “girls don’t poop”, but accessible and intelligent can coexist – in fact, they should. Too many brands talk down to consumers, assuming a concept is too complex for laypeople to understand. Great marketing breaks down difficult concepts into bite-sized bits of information anyone can digest, but it also assumes the audience is already informed and in possession of a certain among of intelligence and sophistication.

Spotify launched a 2017 New Year’s campaign that swirled together humor and current events in a series of unforgettable billboards and paid social ads. Memorable witticisms for their “2018 Goals” initiatives included:

  • “Deliver burns as well as the person who streamed ‘Bad Liar’ 86 times the day Sean Spicer resigned.”
  • “Be as savage as the person who made a 1-hour, 55-minute playlist called ‘Lasting Longer Than The Mooch.’”
  • “Eat vegan brisket with the person who made a playlist called ‘Leftist Elitist Snowflake BBQ.’”

Hilarious zingers that only work because the marketing department at Spotify trusted consumers would get it.

“The great thing about taking big chances when you’re young is you have less to lose, and you don’t know as much. So you take big swings.” – Amy Poehler

Launching a startup is scary. Still, ignore the instinct to play it safe until you have “more” – more capital, more time, more customers, more confidence – because being new and young is when it’s easiest to take chances. There is no pre-conceived notion as to what your brand or product does or who or what it’s meant to be. Use this moment to make a splash, crafting a product launch strategy that kills.

Dollar Shave Club is the brand that built an empire on the back of one of the most boring daily routines men must endure. Their launch video used mild profanity (bleeped, of course) and a hefty dose of humor to introduce the world to the concept of a subscription shave service. The ad was entertaining, informative, and above all memorable – the marketing trifecta. Established brands might’ve thought twice about adapting such an irreverent tone, but as the new kids on the block, DSC could do whatever the heck they wanted.

I’ve always been in the right place and time. Of course, I steered myself there.” – Bob Hope

Success isn’t something that just happens to you, it’s earned. Learn to manufacturer your own luck and put yourself in a position to succeed. Of course, that requires embracing thought leadership and constantly expending resources forging new paths and trying out new angles. That’s okay, though, since 47% of c-suit execs and other decision makers say they’re more likely to award business to companies who exhibit that type of leadership.

You can make a career or a company on the back of a single idea that hits the marketplace at the right time, but you can also create “the right time” by launching smart, crafting an incredible marketing campaign, and knowing your audience (and their pain points) better than any potential competitor.

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

Everybody has a nugget of creative insanity inside them, but unlocking it may be so difficult it feels impossible. Think you can’t be funny? I beg to differ. The colleagues who tell me they simply can’t come up with a one-liner or think of anything special for a new project are often overthinking things. Free your mind and the funny will follow.

Go for a walk. Take a shower. Have an impromptu dance party. Do the crossword puzzle. Draw an idea map. Talk to your dog about your latest professional woes. Whatever works. And if all else fails, hire a freelance to help nurture your spark until it’s a bonfire of epic proportions. Sometimes all we need to succeed is someone else to fan our creative – and comedic – flames.

Alana L writes content that helps brands separate themselves from the sad sack pack of sameness littering the professional landscape. Want to blend in? You’ve come to the wrong lady. Want to dominate your competitors, make loads of cash, and thrill your customers from the end of their adorable noses down to their exciteable little toeses? Alana’s your gal.


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