When Comedy Meets Marketing, Great Things Can Happen. Or Not.
I enjoyed a clever post on LinkedIn this week, positing that “Comedians Might Be Better Strategists Than Strategists.” I couldn’t agree more.
It’s a discovery I made in graduate school by hanging with two of my best friends, Bill Nuss and Dusty Kay. Both have built successful careers writing and producing television shows in Hollywood and are now prepping their original musical comedy, “The Honeymooners,” based on the original TV series, for Broadway.
They were a year behind me at Northwestern, seniors when I moved on to grad school, when Bill and I shared a house off-campus. As I struggled with strategic and creative assignments, they would riff. “Hirsch! Here’s a great idea! Marie Antoinette for Hostess. Her attendants inform her that the people are hungry and rioting outside the palace. She waves her hand and says, ‘Let Them Eat Twinkies.’”
Maybe you had to be there for that one, but their sharp intuition, spontaneity and prolific funniness inspired me to create our “Right Brain Studio Creative Panel” years later. Instead of the usual suspects from marketing and advertising, we bring in writers, directors, musicians, actors, artists and comedians, of course, to help us brainstorm new ideas. As a rule, those of us in marketing are reacting to trends in the popular culture. But there is no one better suited to generating truly disruptive ideas than those actually creating our culture, which we prove every time we do one of these sessions.
If you have any doubt that comedians and other creative professionals can be visionary marketers, look no further than Saturday Night Live. How many of their “spoof” products actually gone to market? A lot! There was “Little Chocolate Donuts,” a breakfast cereal touted by John Belushi. Trans-Eastern Airlines was like “riding in a cattle car with wings.” And Triple Trac razor with three blades. There are more, all jokes at the time, but all predictive of real products that made it to the marketplace and, for better or worse, went on to be big sellers.
Here’s another one SNL might consider. “Brewtein,” the new beer packed with 7 grams of protein!” Get your buzz on while giving your body what it needs after a workout! “It’s where your workout meets your weekend” and the beginning of the “fitness beer revolution.” The video already exists and it’s very funny. Watch it here.
Wait…this is a real product! The video has been produced to fund a Kickstarter campaign to raise $40,000 so that Brewtein, and its lower carb companion, “Nutribeer,” can be produced and found at a store near you.
Another case of fact being stranger – and funnier – than fiction.
Do beer drinkers really want their brew to deliver a nutritional kick? Highly doubtful. Especially when the beers have been named and packaged in a way that screams “tastes bad!” But we shall see.
Stranger things have happened, but my money is still on hamburgers as the preferred protein deliver system for beer drinkers.