Creating Super Fun Hybrid Adverts That Coincides With & Furthers Your Brand
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Want a really quick way to differentiate yourself from the pack? There’s a reason why adverts from the internet sensation “The Harmon Brothers” works so well in the digital landscape. Traditionally, their pieces are fun and whimsical built upon the “random humor” model, but they also have the ability to draw in, and hold your attention immediately. It’s sort of wild, because their adverts are totally bonkers. So why is that? How do you come up with an idea? How can these crazy adverts live alongside your brand? There are a ton of questions here, so in this article we will look at a few ways to create a super fun IP advert / campaign that can be transformative to your brand, increase your sales, and set you leagues apart from your competitors.
Chip - Our animated character we created for a client.
Knowing your audience is key, but even the stuffiest, and most conservative of audiences can have a little fun every now and then.
Creating funny, wild & crazy IPs that can coincide with your brand does not have to be a daunting, and risk filled exercise. Of course, there are always risks associated with taking on any new approach, but we can calculate that risk, and mitigate it so long as we know our audience. These wild & crazy ideas can also stand alongside your brand, and do not need to clash with it if we take the proper approach. More on that later! If we look at someone like the Harmon Brothers, they take a really deep dive into the backend demographics of their target audience before they even start the brainstorming process.
Example: Squatty Potty (Credit: Harmon Brothers)
Knowing your audience is key, but even the stuffiest, and most conservative of audiences can have a little fun every now and then. That’s why it’s so important to know who you are talking to, and how you need to talk to them. Humor and “fun” can be powerful agents, but only when utilized appropriately. What one person might find funny, another person might find completely off-color. That’s why it’s crucial to startle that line between humor types, dip your toes into the gray areas of humor, but be cognizant not to go too far with your respective audience.
Humor in the social landscape is constantly evolving, so it’s difficult to pin exactly where a joke will land with an audience. That’s why focus groups, or polling can be an integral component to your pre-production process. A very simple way to do this is by putting out a poll for instance in a survey monkey that’s incentivized that could help you pin point likeminded humor before you go into your brainstorming, and writing phase. If you’re a bigger brand, performing a series of focus groups on some pre-formulated concepts might be more beneficial to you as a company / brand so you may see a 1 to 1 reaction to some of the humor archetypes you’ve constructed. We can also utilize databases from existing adverts in social platforms to see past and present performances on how similar brands have executed their vision. That way, we know what might work for say a budding restaurant franchise, vs. a household consumer good.
So as we started with this topic, why is it that this type of formulaic advert or campaigns grab, and hold an audience’s attention? To be frank, it’s due to the fact that they are giving more then they are asking of their respective audience. The modern consumer is keenly aware when they are being sold to, but with these types of adverts, they’re giving more rich content in the department of storytelling, fun, and humor, then they’re trying to hit the audience over the head with an ask. Though, sometimes these adverts actually do make a direct or deliberate ask, but it’s usually by breaking what we refer to as the 4th wall.
So when the “ask” is made, it’s more of a half-joke, than a literal ask. Just like sarcasm, or reverse psychology however, the true ask is subtly planted, and at the end of the advert the humor has earned the respect of the audience to convert, or engage out of an earned respect.
Example: Mirasol's Cafe - Our first foray years ago with characters and animatronics
These types of “asks” will traditionally make fun of themselves, being self-aware they are in an advert by making lavish or bold claims about their product, or service. This usually is underscored by the themed humor that is built upon the advert. So when the “ask” is made, it’s more of a half-joke, than a literal ask. Just like sarcasm, or reverse psychology however, the true ask is subtly planted, and at the end of the advert the humor has earned the respect of the audience to convert, or engage out of an earned respect. That respect through the shared experience of humor translates very similarly like trust, or buyer confidence, but with a much quicker life cycle. You see, humor or fun adverts can immediately connect with, or resonate with an audience to the point that they feel a connection with the brand, or service. The feeling of “they get me”, or “they get it” often springs to mind when consuming these sorts of adverts. In turn the consumer rewards the brand with engagement (likes / shares / commenting), or conversion (clicks / subscriptions / purchases). That’s why this archetype can perform so well, given that you’ve done the leg work to see what sort of content will respond best with your audience.
Example: WMSC - Video Campaign we created with the character Chip
At Capion we are no strangers to this concept, as we have created content like this in the past that has been widely successful. While this type of video production for us is far and few between, we have successfully made several adverts that have been fun or comedy driven. Our most recent work in this field came a few years ago when a gentlemen approached us to create an advert for his silk blanket company. As we started to churn through ideas, he really stressed to me a need for some levity in the piece. Initially we discussed demographics, and really focused on the target audience which was late 20s, to early 50s women (whom were mothers) who had an affinity for blanket comfort, and convenience. The client also pushed the idea that his repeat buyers were also closely tied to the Asian community, or culture. The client wanted to make a fun piece that was informative, yet didn’t take itself too seriously. So with a bit of sharp wit, we created several character archetypes that could land the jokes. Initially, the client wanted a silk worm, but we quickly polled that wasn’t inline with our demographic. We pivoted, and in turn created a tiny mountain by the name of “Chip” to carry our piece. The character was voiced by a young child, which also resonated well with the mother audience.
Example: Character Creation & Testing
You see, Chip was a play off the brand design which was White Mountain Silk Co. A cute, yet clever way to install some levity, and stand alongside the brand to prop it up. This brings us to our initial question, which is how can these fun, or whimsical ideas live alongside our serious brand. Let me be clear, the IP created in these video adverts, or campaigns are not a permanent defining trait of you as a company, but merely a moment in time. Think about how many companies that have utilized wild, and whacky ideas to push their rather serious brand. Otherwise boring companies like Liberty Mutual are pushing the “Lemo Emo & Doug”, or the Geico Gecko, or how about the resurgence of Domino’s “Noid” from the early 1980s.
its easy to wipe your hands clean of a character (so long as it’s not controversial), because adverts or IP are understood by the general public to be their own microcosm.
All of these characters roughly do the same thing, which is to stand alongside the brand, and give the brand the breathing room to be comical, with no commitment to keep that character on the payroll so to speak. That’s because like a spokesman, that character is channeling its humor through it, but at the end of the day can be “cancelled”, and the brand is still left standing. Brands of course are constantly reinventing themselves, but its easy to wipe your hands clean of a character (so long as it’s not controversial), because adverts or IP are understood by the general public to be their own microcosm. While the internet can write just about anything in stone, for the most part consumers are pretty short sighted, so there is a level of forgiveness preinstalled to weigh against any associated risk.
Once you’ve done the leg work to figure out who, and how you are talking to your respective audience, really you just need some sharp, witty, or otherwise fun content that loosely ties to your brand, product, or service. The advert, or campaign should feel less of an “ask”, and more of a “give”. If you walk into creating an advert that has less of a direct response feel, and more of a “I’m going to make some fun, and engaging content” I’d say you’re on the right path to success. It’s like creating a hybrid between a branding & direct response advert, where you’re able to make a sales pitch, but typically it’s a less than serious ask. As a general comment; people are just tired of being advertised to, so with this archetype, it makes things so significantly more enjoyable to watch.
To recap, be sure to perform the following;
Identify who your audience is.
Learn how to speak to them.
Remember to give more, and ask less.
Have fun, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Use random humor tactics to keep your comedy type witty, less pointed, and more generalized.
All of these characters roughly do the same thing, which is to stand al
ngside the brand, and give the brand the breathing room to be comical, with no commitment to keep that character on the payroll so to speak. That’s because like a spokesman, that character is channeling its humor through it, but at the end of the day can be “cancelled”, and the brand is still left standing. Brands of course are constantly reinventing themselves, but it's easy to wipe your hands clean of a character (so long as it’s not controversial), because adverts or IP are understood by the general public to be their own microcosm. While the internet can write just about anything in stone, for the most part consumers are pretty short sighted, so there is a level of forgiveness preinstalled to weigh against any associated risk.
There is no doubt that comedy, and fun are powerful agents that can create an impactful, and lasting experience on your target audience. These types of character IP’s and adverts can stretch your marketing budget far beyond a traditional direct response, or branding piece, because they are in essence a hybrid model of the two. Your audience is encouraged to engage with the piece, as you’re giving more to the audience than you’re asking of them. Like any advert, you need to perform the leg work based on the predetermined check list we discussed, but it’s reasonable to expect a much higher performance than a more conservative approach. With all of this taken into account, consider moving past your traditional methods, and into something more fun for the next stage of your advertising endeavors. At Capion Studio with our video production services we can build you an IP, advert or campaign that can create a huge splash with your targeted audience. Make sure to visit us on our main page found at www.capionstudio.com. So thank you for tuning in, until the next article, take care and stay creative!