Dull, unmemorable messaging is why many marketing campaigns fail. In a world where millions of new content are created per second, a boring ten-second TV or Social Media Ad is the last thing people - your target audience included - want to see.
To breach this mental wall, make your marketing "stick" in people's minds, and grow sales, use humor. Join Jon LaClare, Founder and CEO at Harvest Growth, on this week's podcast as he reveals the important lessons the Harvest Growth team has learned from using humor in advertising campaigns for clients like Louis C.K. and successful brands across several industries, including kid's entertainment, wine, and beer, finance, etc.
In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:
How to use humor without harming your brand image.
Essential copywriting rules to remember when using humor in your marketing.
Successful examples of funny marketing campaigns from Harvest Growth clients.
And so much more!
You can listen to the full interview on your desktop or wherever you choose to listen to your podcasts.
Or, watch the full video interview here!
Do you have a brand that you’d like to launch or grow? Do you want help from a partner that has successfully launched hundreds of brands that now total over $2 billion in revenues? Set up a free consultation with us today!
Prefer reading instead of listening? Read the full transcript here!
Advert: Are you looking for new ways to make your sales grow? You've tried other podcasts but they don't seem to know. Harvest the growth potential of your product or service as we share stories and strategies that will make your competitors nervous. Now here's the host of our Harvest Growth podcast, Jon LaClare.
Jon LaClare: Welcome back to the Harvest Growth Podcast. Today I'm talking about a topic that's really a lot of fun and it's humor in marketing. We're going to walk through an example of a really fun project we get to work on with Louis C.K. the comedian about a year ago, and it's done really well this year. I'm actually working on another big project with another comedian because it was so groundbreaking and different. I can't take full credit this is all Louis C.K's idea, in terms of getting the infomercial done to sell his comedy special, and we'll share clips of it during this podcast so I encourage you to listen.
Then I'll also talk about, if you've got a product or service business that you're not a comedian, how do you still incorporate lessons from Louis C.K. into your business to sell your product or service? We'll get into some examples on those as well but first, I want to dive in a little bit to the story behind the Louis C.K. infomercial. This all started again about a year ago, we shot a 30-minute infomercial, along with Joe Mackay interviewing Louis C.K. in a cheesy on purpose talk show set, making it look like Joe is interviewing Louis about his upcoming comedy special and then interspersing that with a lot of funny clips from old comedy specials. With the goal of selling ultimately, his brand new at the time comedy special called Sorry. Let's play a clip from the show or a couple of clips from the show and give you a piece for what it looked like.
It was so fun working with a comedian. The whole shoot was a blast absolutely. Also, we made it the editing process a little bit easier to make this a funny show because we had comedy specials to work with. I'll just play a couple of clips from specials that were shown in the infomercial. I do encourage everyone, we're only playing a few minutes of the 30-minute infomercial here. Check out the entire show, it was a lot of fun to work with Louis C.K. who worked with us a lot in the writing. We produced it fully and aired it on national TV to help him sell and he's also played it on stages around the country and frankly, around the world as well and it's done very well in selling his comedy special Sorry. Either way, it's a lot of fun to watch. It's on YouTube, you can search for it there but we'll also include a link to the actual YouTube special right in our show notes as well.
All right, so through this process, as you can see, Louis C.K. is not just hilarious, but he's also a great businessman. That's what we learned behind this. This was a brand-new medium. I don't believe anyone's ever done this before, 30-minute infomercial seller comedy special which he did right from his website, and it was gangbusters. It was a great success. What I learned from him is his strategic business mind. Most successful comedians are funny but to really get to that next level, you've got to be a great businessman or business person behind your business as well.
I want to talk about some learnings that we got from this project that as I look back, we've used similar learnings across other videos for products and services over the past many years. We'll show you some examples and this will help you relate to, "How do I apply this to my own business?"
There's three things we're going to talk about. The first one is humor or entertainment in marketing. Now, these are not all going to be comedy clips as funny as Louis C.K. was but pay close attention to some of the videos we're going to share, I want to emphasize one thing. You've got to use humor very carefully. It's really easy to miss the mark if you try to go too far or if it's just about humor, not enough about the product or service that can actually harm your business. I think about Superbowl ads, a lot of them are hilarious. Some are terrible but many of them are funny but when the Superbowl is over, we forget about them. The ones that really stand out are funny, but also on point. We remember what they were talking about and that's the importance whether it's a Superbowl ad or whether you're spending $100 on media on Facebook. If you're going to use humor, do it carefully, and maybe not use it as your entire pitch so it can be a part of what you're doing, depending on your business unless it's an affiliate or personality.
First I want to talk about is a product called Pony Up Daddy. This is a product we launched several years ago, you've probably seen it. It's a saddle that moms or dads wear Pony Up Daddy it's called, and their kids get to ride on the back as they walk around the floor. If you've got kids, we've all done this or as we were kids ourselves rode around on our parents like a pony ride. This has made it easier to hold on and a little more fun as well. We got pitched this idea, to be honest, I wasn't super excited about it but we had a lot of fun with it. I'm going to play a clip from the video just to give you a flavor for what it was but the humor behind the product in this case, really drove sales and it was a massive success, selling millions over the course of many years. Here's a clip.
Another client we worked with in the service side is called CreditNinja. They are a place to get loans and they used humor really to grab attention in a very crowded market. There's a lot of credit repair places, et cetera, that are out there but they needed to stand out and to certainly help people get these small loans, who might be going through credit issues, et cetera. Explain the story, but use humor to separate and grab attention and make it memorable and that's exactly what we did in this video.
All right, this next project we had a lot of fun with, it's called Reboot. It's a hangover cure. There are others in the marketplace but beverages in general, especially purpose-driven beverages. It's a really crowded space and you're competing against companies with billions, literally of dollars in marketing budgets so you've got to stand out. We used humor. I'll share clips of a couple of different short videos that we did for them that really drove their initial sales, got their brand recognition around, and now they've moved beyond that, their marketing is very different but the humor is what help them to stand out in the very early days.
We've done a lot of cleaning products over the years, especially because of my background with OxiClean, and it's really hard to make them stand out. OxiClean we'll talk about a little bit later had Billy Mays to help and several demonstrations we'll talk about but how do you do that today without Billy Mays around, without maybe some powerful demonstrations that people have already seen? You got to make your product stand out in a purpose-driven way.
Let's look at a video for Humalogic. Now, this is a product that literally has two ingredients water and bananas. It's a little bit unbelievable. It's actually nutrients drawn out from the bananas in powdered form, of course, but literally that's it and then the pH balance is increased in such a way that it's a powerful cleaning product, excellent carpet cleaner. We started off one of their videos with dropping a bunch of bananas into an aquarium full of water to draw your attention. Now, it's not the most hilarious thing, but it's funny and it grabs your attention but it's also on point. Once you get that story, the reason those bananas are there, "Why are you doing with a cleaning product?" Now you start to ask questions in your own mind, and you can come back and realize, well, that's because of the ingredient story.
One of our recent projects is a product called Zorbent. It's an absorbent that's powder. It's been around for a long time but mainly in the commercial space. It's never really been sold in a big way to the consumer market. We need to really create attention to this. It's a product that everyone needs. We all have liquid spills in our garage kitchen, et cetera but we just don't know that there's absorbent powders, most consumers. In commercial spaces and garages across the country, shops, et cetera, absolutely, they know but a lot of consumers they just don't realize it's there. Grabbing attention, so we really wanted to start off with an unbelievable introduction. The quantity of liquid that can be picked up with one small container of Zorbent is phenomenal. You can clean up a gallon of liquid. We start off, as I'll show in the video, a big pour of water showing this gallon unbelievable, picking up that with paper towels would never happen. There's no other way to do it other than maybe a big mop and ShopBack equipment, et cetera but this powder makes it super simple and we show that in this demonstration.
All right, we talked about humor and entertainment in videos to help your marketing. The next as we learned from the Louis C.K. video as well as providing value in the video itself. This is something that's inherent in what's done in the structure of that 30-minute infomercial. What you're buying is a comedy special, $10, chill out or there was more if you buy a bunch of specials, et cetera. We're trying to convince you to purchase that but we're giving you value in the actual ad itself because you're buying humor, humor is shown. We're seeing clips of other shows so you get a glimpse of who Louis C.K. is, what his comedies are like et cetera but really value. It's hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube of this 30-minute infomercial and it's really driven by the fact that it's funny, it's entertainment. People like to watch it even if they're not buying. Giving that value will drive people to watch it the first time and sometimes over and over again and really to sharing to others as well. They feel they themselves are getting value out of it.
A couple of examples on how to do this with product business specifically, are a couple of clients of ours, one is called Enduro power batteries. This is a battery system, really a battery that's used for RVs. These have been in fishing boats as well and golf carts and other uses but one of the ways is their big market is RVs. We've worked with a lot of influencers to develop content to teach people how to live off the grid so a lot of these influencers that's really what they do. That's their marketplace. You can learn the process of living off the grid and, by the way, to do that well you can use Enduro power batteries, of course, any other high-quality battery can work, but our clients are the best, and here's why.
Influencers can teach that process. It really is education and that alone was a real game changer for this specific business where we drove a little bit of content, some education, and all of a sudden the business has grown incredibly over the-- it's only been around for a couple of years and they've really done a great job in entering the marketplace and growing and overtaking a lot of these competitors that have been around for 10 or 20 years.
Another idea or example is a supplement. It's called Flamaquel and it's for inflammation. In some of our ads, we teach you how to reduce inflammation talking about the ingredients, in Flamaquel. This is done for a couple of reasons. One is to give credibility to the product education of how it works. You could take this. This is really providing value to the consumers like turmeric and other key ingredients. Yes, You could go buy your own supplements, create your own thing and make this work. We're teaching you how to create nutrients or bring nutrients in your body that are going to reduce inflammation for the long term. In reality and this works great for us as for supplements especially is teaching here's all the things you should be doing in your life or what you should be consuming, whether it's in supplement form or part of your diet. We're going to make it easy for you. Hey, do all this or just take our pills. It's a product that's natural based and so it works really well with that education-type format.
The third area that we really learned from that Louis C.K. infomercial is about experiencing the product. When you watch you see some comedy specials, you see Louis interacting with Joe Mackey and you see some of the funny clips that he helped put together for those. You get to experience some of the humor. In a product business, it's important on almost any product. You want to make sure that your potential buyers, consumers as they see your videos they get a feel for the product, get excited by it, and need to purchase it but having that experience without being able to touch and feel, that's one of the reasons video, in general, can be such a powerful marketing medium is because it gives you that experience without having to go into the store and purchase yet. At least part of the experience.
OxiClean as I mentioned before did this masterfully and that's one of the reasons it grew to several $100 million in annual revenue and fairly quickly actually. Billy Mays of course was a personality that we had to thank as a business was a big driver of success of that but also the demonstrations. Now, Billy was involved in developing some of these but one key demonstration which you probably remember is the fishbowl demo. This is where he pours and we'll show it in a second. He has got a black fish bowl full of water and some other stuff in there. Pour in a little scoop of OxiClean, boom. It goes white instantaneously. You get to experience it brings you in. "That's what it's going to do to my clothes. That's how it's going to help me out specifically here." Take a look at the demo.
Another client of ours is Grillbot. Now, this is a great product. It's basically a Roomba to clean your grill. You put it inside your grill, close the lid, turn it on after half an hour, or whatever you put your own timer in there it's completely clean. It is phenomenal. Part of the problem on this one is how do you show that because the grill lid is closed when it's actually working. Animation helped. We obviously lifted the lid up to see it moving around a little bit but showing that demonstration especially through animation as you'll see here, the bits of grill stuff falling off there, the grill grates, et cetera. It really gives you a peak under the curtain really or under the lid in the case of these grills.
We also love working with Sea Foam and their Bugs-B-Gone product. This is a product you spray on your windshield or the front of your car after a long trip or anytime you've got bugs over there which are so hard to get off. They don't even come off in a car wash half the time. Spray this on, leave it on for a few seconds, 60 seconds typically, rinse it right off. These bugs come off super easily. It's really amazing though because there's been so many other products that have this promise but they simply don't work. We had to prove it. Show how amazing this product really is. Part of the way we did that is by showing consumer testimonials in a live environment where they came into a car wash area, we sprayed it, showed live demonstrations, saw how easy it rinsed off, they drive off and love the car. Here's a few of those testimonials along with their demonstrations.
Boogie Board. Now you've probably heard of the Surfboard brand or I guess Boogie Board brand or your bodyboard with Boogie Boards. There's another brand you've definitely seen whether you know the brand or not but if you go to any public environment especially a place with a lot of kids, there's little tablets where you write on them, hit a button to erase, draw, et cetera. We've done many videos, hundreds of videos literally for the Boogie Board brand. One that I'll show you here is called Scribble and Play. It's a kids' product. Not all of their products or kids' products but this one certainly is. This one is all about visual captivation. When you've got a product if you can visually captivate your audience really bring them in, wow them. This has rainbow lines in it different from most of the other Boogie Boards and drawing those into those closeups of seeing what you can do with the Boogie Board seeing the reaction or emotions from the kids that are using them. To bring kids into your audience is a difficult thing but demonstrations of a product in a compelling way go a long way. We love shooting food products. It's a lot of fun to work with but they're so delicious to look at. It's really fun. One of our clients is CampMaid. Now if you used outdoor Dutch ovens for camping, et cetera, it's a kit that goes along with it and it essentially gives you 100% ways to work with your Dutch oven to cook almost anything. We shot a lot of product demonstrations for this one. Again the beauty of food is so important but demonstrating the end result, it's all about seeing the food that's done, not just the product in use. It's great to see how it works, the features but the benefit of a food-related product is the food you can create from it. Take a look at some of these.
Retique It. It was a really fun video shoot that we got to do in North Carolina a little while ago. As you'll see in the video it's a product that you can essentially restain or repaint a table and make it look like a fine wood really easily without stripping. Refinishing wood is such a mess and such a difficult proposition. It's very difficult to do but with Retique It you literally put that on and you can stain or paint right on top of it and it looks like beautiful wood again. This one was again all about beauty. Demonstrating the beauty that is given to you with the product.
Our last video we'll show you is Stove Ranger. Now, this was one of the most interesting video shoots I've ever done. We got to create a kitchen inside a massive studio and pretty much burn it to the ground. We started a grease fire on top of a stove inside this huge studio. Stove Ranger's a product that puts out grease fires. It sits above your stove as you'll see, fire goes up, the powder comes down, puts it out automatically. You never run the risk of having more serious damage from a grease fire. This was a really fun shoot to do but this demonstration was all about proving how it works. We could talk about it, we could animate it, we had to show it live on our real grease fire, how quickly it went out, cameras everywhere, a couple of melted GoPros but we got the shot luckily. Take a look at this video and enjoy.
We want to give a special thanks to Louis C.K. and his entire team for an amazing experience working together really learning from him. He as I mentioned is a comedic and a business genius and are super fun to work with. Had a great time and we were so glad to see that he was so successful with his infomercial. Not just for fun but actually selling his product as well.
We are grateful for him for also allowing us to share his content today from his infomercial on our podcast. I do encourage everyone go check out the full infomercial. It's a lot of fun. You'll see a link in the show notes. If you're driving go check it out later or at some point. It's on YouTube, you can also search for it. For Louis C.K. infomercial you'll find it. There's hundreds of thousands of views and growing. Again, it's done really well on TV as well and it was a super fun project. As a reminder, if you have any needs for your business you can check out harvestgrowth.com. Check out all the podcasts we've done in the past. We've had a lot of fun doing this, a lot of interesting interviews with great product marketers sharing their stories of success. Please go learn from them on how you can improve your business. If we can do anything you can actually reach out and set up an appointment with anyone from our team or our product and service launch specialist. Thanks again.
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