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5 tips on using humour with your brand

April 1, 2017

April is here! That means everyone is in a good mood, the sun is shining, and jokes abound. But, when it comes to one-off holidays like April Fools, do brands have to respond? While there are some that we all refuse to fully acknowledge (National Pizza With All the Toppings Day?) there are some that provide a brand valuable equity in the digital space. This month? It was definitely April Fool’s. But when we discuss such a holiday, it’s important to realize it's not all fun and games. If anything, delivery, execution and relevance are all equally important in making sure that your joke doesn’t misfire. Below, find a short list of tips to guarantee your joke makes sense for your brand, and will be well-received by your audience:

  1. Can you do it? Some brands can pull jokes off and some cannot. What type of brand have you created? Does humor have a place within your brand ethos? If not, best to sit on the sidelines and not confuse your customer base. If it does, what a great opportunity you have. You’ve got to ask yourself: are we able to successfully pull this off and will it help our overall marketing goals? Krispy Kreme UK went for a sly re-brand with an official announcement from their Chief Donut Officer who motioned for a spell check on the the double K, and making it instead, Krispy Cream...and they pulled it off. Same goes for Gaby Pattiserrie located in the Sofitel hotel in NYC. In French tradition, diners at the restaurant experienced “Poisson d’Avril” or April Fish, in which a customer winds up with a fish taped to their back. If discovered, they get a free cocktail. Both of these tactics were subtle, fun and pretty humorous. If you can also include a promo - we suggest you do so - always best to measure results. So, if you have a brand that wants to jump in on the fun, read on...

  2. Find your line. Part of smart marketing strategy on a day like April Fool’s means making sure you get the humor right. Going over the edge doesn’t mean much if it offends and confuses. Need an example? Grubhub’s parkour delivery service was inventive for sure, but the absurdity of it fell on silent ears. This was so obviously a joke that it worked against their favor. Make absolutely sure you know where your line is. It’s like a good comedian...they know exactly when to delivery the punch line.

  3. Good to go? If so, now you’ve got to come up with an idea. Let’s try to consider what that means. First off, it needs to be witty, it needs to be fun and most of all, it should be relevant to your brand. There makes no sense in straying from bread and butter topics. The best jokes are the ones that don’t seem like jokes at all. Simplicity is key. McDonald’s created a MicroMac - which not only sounds cute, but looks cute, too (double win).

  4. Got your joke? Now - where does it live? There are multiple channels that make sense for jokes - notably, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but outside of these main sources for publishing, let’s also mention their live counterparts. Publishing across these channels provides everyone to have a chance to find the content - and also monitor the timing for when you’re able to send it live. What’s the point of offering the joke if no one is going to see it? Boost the posts, and MAKE YOUR JOKE VIRAL.

  5. Joke went terribly wrong? Fix the situation and turn it in your favor, or if you’re totally unable, fess up to it. There is always a work around. No one wants to relive the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial, but that move also prompted the conglomerate to issue a redress showing their commitment to their fans and their following, exactly what a customer wants to hear.

When it comes to executing the perfect joke, we can’t stress enough that simplicity is key. Take a moment to consider if it makes sense for your brand and choose your joke wisely. Those who say all publicity is good publicity are actually pretty wrong.  


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