Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee

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A Vote for Comedy in B2B Social Media


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I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Gillin at the Inbound Marketing Summit this month in Foxboro, MA.   He was interested in a series of YouTube comedy videos  “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale,” and wrote a nice article about them.

A notes from behind the scenes:

The question I get most often about these is “how did you get these approved at a big corporation?’

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By starting small.  The first comedy I produced at IBM was at the end of 2004, and it was internal only — for a sales meeting — which kept the risk very low.  I kept the cost low by asking one of my best friends, Scott Teems, a director, to help me for $400.   The video was a hit, I was asked to create a sequel, and was able to pay Scott a nice tip.

Inbound Marketing Summit


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Here’s yesterday’s presentation from the Inbound Marketing Summit.  I’ll follow up in the next few days with posts covering the comedy writing homework assignment, the Hyde Park chapel story, and answer a few questions I received via twitter.  Steve Garfield’s interview provides a little more detail.

It’s nice to be warm again.

 

View more presentations from Tim Washer.

Social Media Strategies Summit


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SanFran_shutterstock_46193350

My friend Melissa Mines and I presented at the GSMI Social Media Strategies Summit.  As usual, when I visit San Francisco in September, I forgot that the climate can reach Ice Station Zebra conditions.  Melissa, sporting a sleeveless blouse on the way to dinner in Union Square, hypothesized that most tourists also don’t pack appropriately, forgetting about the temp drop and remedying their mistake by purchasing a cheap sweatshirt from the first street vendor they can find.   Which explains the following:

The next day at the conference, when our teeth stopped chattering, we presented a few case studies on Cisco’s work in the B2B social media

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space.  In the Service Provider Marketing group, we have a relatively small, technical audience.  I love the fact that we strive to balance the engineering content with some of the funny. Our presentation is below.

Like everyone one of my trips to San Francisco, I came home wishing I could have stayed longer, and sporting a new “Escape From Alcatraz” hoodie.

VisibleGains B2B Video Roundtable


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Ames Pond Cisco office, Tewksbury, MA

I spent some time this week at our Tewksbury, MA office  meeting our mobile networking team, headed up by Ash Dahod, recently profiled in the Boston Globe. What a fun group.  I filmed an into for a video travel blog we’ll be producing when one of my colleagues Angela Singhal-Whiteford treks to Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai and Delhi to visit with customers.

David Meerman Scott invited me to speak Friday afternoon at the VisibleGains B2B video roundtable, along with Steve Garfield and others.   I shared a funny video and talked about some of the interesting things we’re doing with video, including the upcoming Doobie Brothers Cisco TelePresence event.

Update:  Here’s a comprehensive review of the Doobie Brothers concert from Howard Lichtman.

New Gig at Cisco


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Jack

Started my new job today at Cisco as Product Manager for SureMute Technology.  And by that I mean social media / content marketing guy in the Service Provider group).   I’m working in NYC, reporting to a manager in San Jose, and have a dotted-line into Jack Donaghy.  Love this product placement scene on 30 Rock.

The Business Case for Nonsense


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I went to Harvard Business School.

But it was only for one evening.  Last Thursday, I was invited to present a case study on using comedy in corporate YouTube videos, and shared “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale.”  This video series we published in August 2006 continues to be discussed, simply because it’s funny.  It’s listed as a case study in the second edition of bestseller  The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, published this month.  (Congrats, David!)

Comedy done well has the power to cut through clutter and to influence, and that’s helped me get an honorable mention on Click-Z’s Social Media All-Stars list.  My thanks to Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics.

Here’s my presentation:The Business Case for Nonsense: IBM Social Media

Mad Science


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Our new video series featuring John Cohn, from Discovery Channel’s “The Colony

BtoB Mag: “Comedian Tim Washer and IBM’s viral campaign”


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From BtoB Magazine:

COMEDIAN TIM WASHER RARELY TAKES HIMSELF seriously, appearing     everywhere from “Saturday Night Live,” to Budweiser commercials, to a plethora of late-night talk shows. But in 2004, the strictly humorous man landed a new job—this one with IBM Corp., whose brand would hardly be considered comical. IBM, in an attempt to poke fun at its newly established Mainframe Division, hired Washer for a series of viral videos featuring absurdist marketing humor for IBM’s then-new System z technology. The campaign took off, garnering almost 500,000 views for the six-part series on YouTube—with each video providing a link, and driving traffic, to the Mainframe informational Web site. Last month, Washer appeared at a Business Development Institute seminar on corporate social media practices. Though now several years removed from his Mainframe campaign, Washer praised IBM’s willingness to embrace creative absurdity in the corporate marketing world and warned the audience that fear was the greatest hindrance to a company’s ability to maneuver successfully in the social media realm. —Dillon White

Comedy, Social Media and Big Business


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David Wenger and I had a conversation recently on the role of humor in the corporate world, social media, and “stretching the boundaries of comfort when talking Big Business.”  Read or listen to the interview on his blog.

Advertising Age: IBM’s Zany Viral Video Chief


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Earlier this week AdAge reported on the case study I discussed on the use of humor in corporate web video.  I showed a few clips including one from our Smarter Planet campaign.  “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale” earned some great press coverage.  The San Francisco Chronicle blog “What are They Drinking in Armonk,” ZDNet compared it favorably against Microsoft’s broadcast ads with Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates, industry luminary James Governor blogged “Selling big iron the David Brent way,” and Comedy Central selected it as a finalist in its Test Pilot’s contest.

View all six videos in the Art of the Sale series here.