Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A little bit of sensible humour in marketing can go a long way


Personally, I think a little, or in fact, a lot of humour is what is needed nowadays. Ok, yes, in the right places and at the right time. For example, be sensible and steer clear of flight or construction humour with 9/11 coming up! Something a little more lighthearted does have the big cheering-up factor, which can be far more engaging.

Half the problem nowadays is that so many marketing people are, to quote the vernacular, up their own posteriors. And it's not funny. I've been there myself, and to be honest, didn't like it, because it wasn't me.

Health and Safety has replaced common sense. Goodness knows exactly what the current dysfunctional and unnecessary HR has replaced (they certainly don't know themselves).

And all marketing people seem to have, for some strange reason known only to no one, gone SEO-mad. And it ain't the least bit humourous! This is despite the fact that so many of them can neither write or speak English correctly, and so few actually know whet they are SEO-ing on about anyway.

[An example of this being I was researching Multiple Sclerosis, and a well-known UK- tax-evading search engine came up with "See special offers on all your Multiple Sclerosis from Amazon.co.uk" and "Multiple Sclerosis is post free from very.co.uk". So don't go on at me about SEO!]

People want to be engaged. They want to be entertained. They want to be 'brought in' to what they are reading. They want to be 'spoken to' and not 'lectured at'.

But it doesn't mean patronising people with stupidity in an attempt to be humourous, such as a certain insurance comparison website where the driver is either a nerd in an invisible car or on an elephant. And then you go to another comparison website (free cuddly toy, but no conveyor belt or shutters provided) and the quotes you receive are all different to the first comparison site.

Something wrong there surely?

Neither does it mean promoting the destruction of the English language to be amusing.

Take the the case of the satellite TV advertisements fronted by the very nice, but rather English-mangling ("mumfs" rather than "months") Idris Elba, or the BBC's EastEnders where not one character speaks properly - excepting 'Lucy', which probably goes quite a way to explain why, as a character, she was killed off.

And inventing stupid and meaningless terms is not the least amusing or humourous - "pre-order" being the most insidious of recent years - I always thought you either ordered something or you didn't order something. Now, if I have an unfortunate need to break wind, I automatically feel I must mention to those around me that it was a pre-sh........ well, you know what I mean.

[What is this fascination with "pre"? No longer are things used or second-hand, they are "pre-owned". And as for the most stupid and meaningless of them all "pre-loved". What????????]

There is enough doom, gloom and misery out there to last a lifetime, without marketing people encouraging further doom, gloom and misery.

And what a way to remember a brand, if it made you smile, rather than just weep with despair.

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