Happy Father's Day from Tim Washer, Corporate Funny Guy
Just in time for Father's Day we have the latest example of corporate merry making from chief comedian (unofficial title) at Cisco Systems, Tim Washer, MBA '96. It seems the perfect gift for Dad is industrial strength telecom gear! The Perfect Gift for Dad from Tim Washer on Vimeo.
Washer explains that humor is a way for corporations to cut through the social media clutter and bring awareness to their products. He created the Father's Day video with fellow McCombs MBA alum Melissa Purdy Mines, MBA '96.
"We’re in agreement with David Meerman Scott, that when it comes to social media, no one cares about your product but you," he explains. "So we created an entertaining spot that would cut through the social media clutter, make people laugh and maybe pass along to a friend. It’s definitely not a spot focused on our target market, but if the spot is funny enough, the video will find its way to the people we hope will see it."
Washer predicts a significant increase this year in corporate social media, making it more of a challenge to reach an audience that will lend its attention span.
"Humor is one of the most effective ways to grab attention and build rapport. If you can make people laugh, they are willing to listen to you, even when you’re being serious."
- Focus on the problem your product or service will solve. Then exaggerate it to the extreme. Hyperbole is always funny.
- Point out contradictions in your industry that are "inside jokes" among your target audience, and play on those. Nick Morgan of Public Words shares an example in his blog post.
- Be ridiculous. That's the approach we took for the Father's Day video. Not many folks would think it's reasonable to spend six figures on telecom gear for Dad.
"In comedy, execution is key. It’s critical to have someone who is skilled at comedy involved in writing, directing and editing the video. Check with your ad or PR agency to see if they have a comedy writer in their network. Or for smaller companies on a budget, post to Craig’s List or even see if your local comedy club can connect you to freelance writers."
Washer resides in New York City, and when he isn't promoting Cisco products he still does comedy stand-up. His website is A Collection of Nonsense.
Related Story: How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation Less Boring, by Tim Washer