Singing Shrimp and Filthy Matadors (AdTalk S:1 E:1)
Hey everybody! Bryce here. Today we launched a brand new RedFox show called AdTalk! In the show, we talk about the creative positives and negatives of some of the most iconic (and un-iconic?) ads to hit TV and internet. We break down the ad from start to finish and our goal is to learn and grow as artists and entrepreneurs by looking at what these ads bring to the table. It’s an absolute blast to put together and I think you all will really enjoy it! We’ve made it available on YouTube, but if you’re on the go it’s available on Podbean for easy listening.
(https://youtu.be/z4o4UE_izn8 <——— there’s the link to EP. 1 ! )
In today’s episode, I feel like I had to keep talking about the same point over and over. It’s a dangerous and deadly blight that many a marketing agency has fallen prey to. A scourge upon the very nature of authentic storytelling. And its a consistent problem that I feel that I have to talk about.
I speak of course, of comedy.
I love funny ads, don’t get me wrong. The Geico Gecko, the Doritos kid, literally every Pistachios commercial that’s ever been made. They’re great and some of them have gone on to become cultural points of reference. The teams that came up with those ideas for marketing content are worth every penny of the millions of dollars that have been invested in their campaigns. Comedy in ads provides a great hook and creates momentum in advertisements that keep people on the line without moving on to the next thing.
BUT The unfortunate truth is; most of those ads are propped up on the backs of already profitable companies who can afford to screw the pooch should they make an ad that doesn’t work most effectively in their favor. Your company can’t afford to make that mistake or waste time in creating funny content that doesn’t work.
The problem with comedy is that it can quickly become the only part of the ad that seems to matter. How can this be funnier? How can we structure the edit so that the payoff is better? How can we ensure a laugh? Let’s do focus groups to make sure that this character is the one that’ll get the best laughs. Should we cast Jimmy Fallon or Dwayne the Rock Johnson?
While these questions have their place (and boy do I wish we could do an ad with DRJ, fingers crossed) they pale in comparison to the questions you could be asking. Especially when your company can’t afford to make expensive mistakes. “Are we communicating the truth of who we are as a company?” “Does this ad provide value to my target market before I try to sell them something?” “Can I communicate a unique truth about the world, or pose a question, or suggest a way of life that makes my audience think about their way of life?"
It is only when you answer these questions and truly delve into what you are trying to say that you can then begin to look at comedic storytelling, not the other way around. You cannot afford to make the mistake of trying to go for the punchline before looking at succinct, efficient, and compelling options. You’ll look cheap and lame trying to make a joke that doesn’t work, and you stand a better chance communicating out of a place of genuineness and authenticity if you just created content out of who you are.
The ads in this week’s episode of AdTalk had comedic elements to them but at the end of the day, a lot of them fell short due to the fact that they either didn’t pose compelling thoughts and ideas or simply were jokes unto themselves not focused on communicating to their audience at all. Entrepreneurs and marketing teams listen up! Don’t get caught in the cycle of being funny. Don’t try to win at marketing by being the funniest guy in the room. At the end of the day, it is your story and the truth that you communicate into the world that will make people stop, listen, and laugh along with you.
Here’s the full episode of Episode 1 of AdTalk. Like and subscribe for updates and recent postings! And join the conversation! I would love to hear your thoughts on comedy in marketing and what you think of the episode. Look forward to talking to you soon!