BITES // 07.07.22 // TODAY’S TOPIC: THE POWER OF LAUGHTER AND COMEDY
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While humor has always been used in marketing, the type of humor and context in which it is used is constantly evolving . Like comics, advertising needs to have a pulse on what people are finding funny, what cultural conversations are happening, and how to tap into them in a relevant way. While it feels good to laugh, comedy can go beyond just a brief moment of levity and also create engagement and brand conversation.
1. TIKTOK LAUNCHED A COMEDY SUBSCRIPTION SERIES
As part of another creator monetization move by TikTok, the platform is releasing an eight–part comedy series within the app. Partnering with Pearpop, a platform for creators and collaborations, the show series, Finding Jericho, will feature creator Jericho Mencke where he’ll host comedic interviews with a range of different characters. The show will explore themes surrounding confidence, laughter, and various hobbies. Each episode is 30 minutes long, rolling out new content every Tuesday and Thursday. TikTok is making the first two episodes free to all users with a $4.99 subscription to the rest of the season. This series is part of a larger picture for TikTok as they are pushing people towards longer form content and encouraging creators to livestream more frequently and monetize their followings on the platform.
2. HOLLYWOOD IS EMBRACING IRREVERENT COMEDY
With the film releases returning back to normal and movie theater numbers increasing, studios are trying to get their movie marketing back up to speed. Studios are using Gen Z slang and a creator-focused mentality to target younger audiences on TikTok. Hollywood is learning how to speak the language of TikTok — irreverent comedy and it’s working. Lionsgate is one of the studios that has had the most success. Their recent TikTok campaign around The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent starring Pedro Pascal and Nicolas Cage leaned into the “daddy” qualities fans of Pascal love. They also leaned into the “yassification” audio from the trailer. Universal Studios has been making unique handles for each movie and partnering with creators to help promote their movies. TikTok found that 58% of users want to see more content from studios on the platform. Nikao Yang, TikTok’s head of media, entertainment and gaming, said that the audio remixing is helping to give the studios content on TikTok “longer legs” than other platforms.
3. COMEDY CLUB, HELIUM, GOES VIRAL
While comedy specials are nothing new, Helium Comedy Studios is filming and streaming stand-up performances helping to extend the family-owned entertainment provider’s reach into people’s comfort zone — their home. The goal is to bring the live comedy club experience into people’s homes or wherever people want to stream the content. The program will feature both clips and full specials. This is an example of the pandemic-era spinoff that comedy had and people wanting to have easier access from the comfort of their own home. Marc Grossman, Helium co-owner said, “it was a clear opportunity for us to bolster great new talent as we already have the means to do so with our eight club facilities that are within the top 50 DMAs.” The lineup currently includes Jeff Dye (NBC’s Better Late Than Never), Jade Catta-Preta (MTV’s Girl Code), Alonzo Bodden (NBC’s Last Comic Standing winner) and Jon Dore (Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer). Helium Comedy Studios executive producer, Jimmy Chairman, said “what we’re presenting is the logical next iteration of the comedy special.”
4. COMEDY PREFERENCES ARE VARYING BY GENERATION
People are searching for lighter entertainment as we near an endemic state. In an IPOS study 77% of participants said that comedy is their most watched genre. The specifics of humor are highly personal and are influenced by outside factors including age, income level, and political ideology. Millennials and Gen Z prefer dark humor with Baby Boomers preferring political comedy, and Gen X standing out for their preference in straightforward humor. While all age groups tap into video streaming platforms, younger generations are turning to social media such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram for a quick laugh: especially Millennials and Gen Z. Gen Z is the group that get the majority of their comedy from TikTok and appreciate both big-name comedians and smaller comic creators. They also have an affinity for memes that cleverly encapsulate a shared experience, feeling, or cultural event often in a dark or unexpected way.
5. LOONEY TUNES: WHAT’S UP BLOCK?
NFT’s may not be laughing right now, but that hasn’t deterred Warner Bros. from getting into the action. Warner Bros. is partnering with Nifty, the studio is releasing the new NFT Looney Tunes collection this summer. The first character drop will be Tweety Bird and feature various styles of the iconic tiny bird. Each NFT sold at auction will grant special access to Warner Bros. events, merch, and other exclusive content. The project will poke fun at all things crypto, which the industry could use right now. “It doesn’t need to be really deep, deep storytelling; it is about gags and gimmicks and really recognizable characters, so it was a fun one to dig into”, said Josh Hackbarth, head of NFT commercial development for Warner Bros.
6. MEMETIC MEDIA
Memes have been around for a while but the use of them in marketing and advertising is finally on the rise. The pandemic, presidential election, and other major cultural moments the last two years have contributed to increased consumption of memes. It is no surprise that Millennials and Gen Z are the biggest meme viewers but Gen X and Boomers also looked at memes. Memes have 60% more organic reach than marketing graphics with 5% with a Forbes council post affirming that meme campaigns have a click-through-rate of 14% higher than email marketing. Why do memes work so well? Memes are engaging and comical while tapping and commenting on cultural reality, events and situations. It is a way to not only be funny but keep up to date with social conversations and cultural moments.
Comedy can be a powerful tool when used correctly and in the right context. With all that is happening in the world, people look to comedy for not just entertainment but for an escape. We’re seeing more marketing and advertising content leaning on comedy to get attention and create conversation. There are multiple ways in which brands are using comedy strategically to gain attention, retention, and recognition. Like a joke though, the timing and delivery has to be right. Ryan Reynolds, Chief Creative Officer at MNTN and cofounder of Maximum Effort, advocated for brands to return to humor, especially given the tumultuous times we live in: “Ads should be funny. They’re ads. We shouldn’t contribute to the weight people are already carrying.”