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Old 8th September 2008, 12:02 PM   #1

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Default Campaign Tone: Humor Or Straight Talk

My partners and I are brainstorming on the kind of TV/radio campaign we want to put out there. Our company basically renovates old warehouses and work spaces, and provides janitorial services. Some of us want a very dry, just-the facts-mam campaign. I think we should take a humorous approach, because I think it catches on better, giving a campaign more bang.

I point to a few examples, where a dry subject can be advertised in a humorous way. 1800 Dentist has been using these TV ads—improv dialogues on an elevator: http://www.youtube.com/user/1800DENTIST
They're funny, poking fun at our natural fear of dentists.

Or, our phone system that we use has a viral campaign using Gary Busey, which I think is effective because his off-color craziness is engaging: http://www.youtube.com/user/garybuseyonbusiness?ob=1

I've pointed to these examples, and the concern is that in using humor, we might not be taken seriously. My concern is that dry, straight talk might not make an impression at all. I'd love to hear what other small business owners prefer when representing themselves through an ad campaign.

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Old 22nd October 2008, 07:42 PM   #2

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Humor will be the better option, it will have a bigger chance creating some sort of :|:O or reaction for the audience THOUGH for you it probably feels like you would rather not have humor in it as you are a serious businessman. This is how I have perceived it working as. (I work as a marketer.)

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Old 23rd October 2008, 03:20 PM   #3

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Humor is probably the way to go as people will remember that commercial better. Just don't let it be the commercial. Lots of times you see/hear commercials that make you laugh, yet you have no idea what the company does or is selling. Get your point across, but have some fun with it.

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Old 24th October 2008, 10:03 AM   #4
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For tv/radio commercials, it is important that it can make an impression on the viewers. Let people know you are different, create a talking point, rather than trying to play safe with a dull commercial.

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Old 6th November 2008, 08:06 AM   #5
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Humor is a better option. It will help you send the message across if you put some humor on your work. It is easily be remembered and people will still recall the last promotion they heard or seen if there's a little humor on your works.

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Old 7th November 2008, 07:19 AM   #6
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I am in the process of re-designing my site and have gone back and forth on this issue myself. I agree with you guys. A bit of humor helps. Especially when all you hear right now is "doom & gloom".

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Old 7th November 2008, 10:07 AM   #7

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I'll have to be the odd one out. Almost 20 years of helping small business attract customers has shown me that humor is difficult and it can backfire because we all have a different sense of humor. Some not at all. You have a limited time to explain to someone why they should spend their money with you. Tell them. Tell them just like you were talking to them. It works and it'll work for you.


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Old 21st November 2008, 11:18 AM   #8

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I agree with Dos. Humor is a difficult marketing tactic to use. See, the purpose of your advertising is not to amuse or entertain, but to sell your products or services.

Use your commercial to present your offer and emphasize the benefits of doing business with you. Ask your prospects to respond in some way. If people are responding, then you know that your advertising works.

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Old 21st November 2008, 03:04 PM   #9
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If you can find a way to be light-hearted without necessarily using "humor," that can be a good compromise.

Jokes are tricky. Not everyone will "get" them. Maybe try some test marketing with a sample audience and see if what you're planning goes over well?


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Whether you think you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.
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Old 26th November 2008, 03:56 PM   #10

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Humor can be a wonderful approach especially when the market is strong. I prefer work that makes me smile or does something dramatic to get attention.

My favorite ad campaign that I produced was for Orkin Pest Control when we had people thinking their was a cockroach walking across the television screen. It certainly got people's attention, but it wouldn't be appropriate now.

In today's market a more "back to basics" approach will be more appealing to your audience since no one is being frivolous with their dollars.

People want to know they are going to get a great product that carries great value. If your audience doesn't know who you are you run the risk of being seen as a company that doesn't take the customer seriously.

That said, you don't have to use straight-talk. Look at using testimonials to tell your story - if a customer wants to use a humorous anecdote - that could be perfect.

You can also look at an empathetic approach explaining that "you've been there" and some of the things you've had to deal with may put a smile on your audiences' faces.

Most important - keep marketing and make sure you are tracking your results beyond sales to know your efforts are working.

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