Tim Washer. Keynote Speaker + Event Emcee

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ROI on Humor in Social Marketing



I’m often asked what is the value of using humor in social media and marketing efforts.  While I can’t always make the case that a :60 YouTube comedy is going to inspire an impulsive purchase of a $100,000 piece of hardware, comedy helps corporate videos stand out and be remembered among the clutter.  NBC News reports that 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so it is becoming more and more difficult to get noticed.

Today, at the B2B Content2Conversion Conference at the New York Times Center, Michael Brenner, Forbes blogger and SAP vice president of marketing, included our valentines video as a case study.

The spot, while completely absurd and ridiculous, helped us amplify an important marketing message during a product launch over three years ago.  It earned press coverage in The New York Times, NetworkWorld and other trade magazines; and David Meerman Scott referenced it as a best practice example in his bestselling book Real-Time Marketing & PR.

And here we are, more than three years later, and it’s being presented to a group of B2B marketers and influencers, and the social buzz continues from some of B2B’s top influencers, including Ann Handley, Margaret Molloy and Marissa Pick.

I don’t think Michael Brenner sold any routers for us today, although if he did, I’m sure he’ll DM me about his commission check.







  • David Meerman Scott on Apr 24, 2013 Reply

    One of my favorite videos Tim! I showed it on Monday to a group of self-storage facility owners and marketers.

  • tborgman on Apr 23, 2013 Reply

    Tim, I read this after a flight on Southwest, which empowers their employees to be personable and engaging with customers. This often means not being afraid to be socially convivial and humorous. The particular aspect of this I’m thinking of in relation to your post was yesterday’s flight featuring a very positive, socially assertive flight attendant who had the entire full plane in stitches with her humorous, no, comedic take on pre-flight rules of the sky. And this was real, not forced…she was that way throughout the flight. This is traditionally a dead-serious topic because we’ve all been trained over 50 years that it is. But does anyone care or listen to the standard drone? No. But did people listen, care and appreciate the effort…and feel closer to the airline…with this approach? Absolutely. So you have a dead serious business (airlines) talking to trained-to-be dead serious customers. Sounds a lot like B2B. You could literally sense an emotional, community-building effect…and, in some cases, a financial breakthrough to our normally numb-to-the message brains/wallets. Keep on posing the question and proof!

    • timwasher on Apr 24, 2013 Reply

      You’ve identified the perfect scenario to help people understand the power of humor. “This is traditionally a dead-serious topic because we’ve all been trained over 50 years that it is. But does anyone care or listen to the standard drone?” Exactly! I’m also a big believer that humor can buy a company a little grace. When I’m on a flight and have been treated to some live in-flight entertainment during the safety overview, if there ends up being a delay or other customer service issue, I’m much more likely to overlook it. I think I’ll use your example in my next presentation. Thanks for sharing the idea.

      • tborgman on Apr 24, 2013 Reply

        No problem Tim. I (we all) see or experience so much proof of your proposition in our Boring 2 Bored business careers don’t we? I envy you – you’re doing something that in retrospect I wish I was doing! What a calling in life. I follow you (and David below) weekly and appreciate the very hard to ignore ammunition you provide for flock members like me. Keep the fight on…may have to lob another bullet or two for your funny gun as I come across them. 🙂

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