In marketing, buzzwords have a shelf life, and it's typically about a year. Fads and stunts come and go, and we have to be as nimble as ever to keep up and create campaigns that capture fresh audiences.
2013 was the year of content marketing. Suddenly, every brand and public figure was rushing to the drawing board to pen articles for websites, design and release infographics, release e-books, etc. Being an industry leader meant a brand's musings on everything from business strategy to social media practices had to be out there for any potential partner or customer to see.
There is much merit to the substantial impacts of content marketing, and even today, it has weathered the storm and continues to be a key component to marketing strategies. But as with any "hot topic," it introduced a mass of generic and redundant marketing components to the web.
So how does a marketer avoid spending time, energy, and money on client tools, only to have them fall into the abyss of the internet with nothing to show for it? Well, one incredibly efficient tactic is integrating humor with your content marketing. Here is how a few folks took a chance, sometimes even a risk, with humor and created hilarious and unique campaigns worth noting.
Après Hero, North Lake Tahoe
This is a humorous spin on the traditional "how-to" e-book. North Lake Tahoe created a downloadable e-book chocked full of hilarious imagery and step-by-step guides for the Bay Area techies who frequent their slopes to play the cool Tahoe part after they "shred some knar." Complete with an accompanying hashtag, this campaign has the chops to offend some, but leave others in stitches.
E-books are great for humorous campaigns because they have so many layers to make funny: Think hilarious viral images embedded in digital pages, Hashtags with funny phrases, and comical new definitions for slang words associated with the project.
Iowa says, "Well, f**k you"
Videos are compelling pieces of storytelling content for brands. But creating another glossy, commercial-style video that gives viewers no real emotional connection to products or services is obviously ineffective and rather dull content marketing. Instead, consider letting your videos come to life with humor. Play off your strengths and weaknesses with a touch of sarcasm, a little playful banter, and if you're brave, some foul language.
One of the more recent examples of hilarious video content marketing is "Devil Baby Attack," a campaign for the movie "Devil's Due." The campaign used a demon-like animatronic infant to scare everyday pedestrians and capture their reactions on camera. This video was everywhere, and it slipped in right at the end the promotion for "Devil's Due."
My personal favorite is this NSFW video from Iowa Filmmakers selling Iowa's liberal and progressive lifestyle to those who were previously in doubt. It made a huge splash online, and for good reason. It's brilliant. You hang on every word, mouth gaping open, and in the end you're ready to pack your bags for Des Moines. Of all places.
Sinning on social
Infographics, memes, comics, and GIFs give a brand the quirky opportunity to educate but still entertain audiences by showing off its funny bones. People love to laugh and share laughter sources on all social channels. Give them something to share that eventually leads them back to your brand, after the laughter dies down, of course.
Online marketing company Three Ships Media released a comic targeting the most annoying people on Facebook. Not only did it get passed around the web with its branding along the bottom, Mashable also picked it up!
Of course, a basic (but essential) content marketing component is the content share from a brand's Facebook or Twitter page. As social audiences become inundated with international, national, and local businesses' social content, humor is one tactic to stand out that can keep you on the positive side of the thoughts of your network.
Hands down, the best example of using humor in social content is Old Spice. It pulls in every demographic imaginable and dishes out manly tips, ridiculous photos, and its now famous videos. There is never a dull day on the Old Spice page, and that keeps many fans consistently coming back for more. Yep, you can bet that the brand's solid sense of humor really does get results.
As a creative, you're always battling the board of directors who don't want to step on toes with marketing tactics. But based on these examples and the ever growing demand to make it big online, sometimes a risk equals a major reward. Funny tactics can carry over into slang trends, copycats, and tons of web impressions. Those results are true content marketing wins.
Constance Aguilar is the head of strategic communications at The Abbi Agency.
On Twitter? Follow Constance at @ConnieAguilar and iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.