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comedy Archives - The X Gene

Zack G and Barack Obama on Between Two Ferns

Why Obama Making Fat Jokes Worked

By | Marketing, Video, Viral Video | No Comments

We finally got around to watching Prezi Barry Obams on Between Two Ferns, and from the first time The President makes fun of Galifianakis’ weight we were giggling our heads off. He calls the President a nerd! The thing we really like, though, is this video that is exactly like all the other Between Two Ferns – awkward, brash, stilted, deliciously mean spirited and funny – was used by the White House to boost sign ups at HealthCare.gov. They wanted to reach out and plug the site so more people signed up to their reformed healthcare system and ensure they have coverage after the imposed cutoff date. According to White House  communications advisor Tara McGuiness, it worked.

 

Funny or Die is Will Ferrel and Adam McKay’s comedy video site, and it hosts Between Two Ferns. It worked. Here’s what you can learn from all this to get your own stuff moving via video:

THIS VIDEO WAS EMBEDDED EVERYWHERE

The video was hosted on FunnyorDie.com, but there were comms advisors from the White House and media and PR people from Funny or Die speaking with and making aware every website that could possibly place the video into their own articles or blogs. I saw it on The Verge, but you could also find it on (as a smattering):

  • Huffington Post
  • E! Online
  • YouTube
  • Variety
  • Forbes
  • NY Daily News
  • Popwatch
  • The Wrap
  • Gawker
  • Mamamia

That’s a broad collection of audiences.

THERE WAS A BUNCH OF METADATA

Wherever the video appeared, there was at least a link to HealthCare.gov and you need that, you need the call to action and then a quick way for someone to execute that action. The best way for this all to work is when the form matches the function. This is a digital video, posted online, to drive traffic to another website. All someone has to do is click a link. Secondary follow up: make a phone call. But a link in an online video is the best way to take advantage of it all.

DON’T BE AFRAID

Before you worry about using comedy or something different to promote your stuff, think really hard about this: the President (stakes!) went on a show that is famous for being cruel to its guests, and makes fat jokes. Do you really think making light of white goods, or being silly with a corporate message is that scary?

Cover image from old BandT

Cannes: ‘Move over Grandad’ (reblog)

By | Advertising, Inspiration, Technology | No Comments

The following is a rad article we loved and got us juicy. We’re one of the creative agencies nipping at the heels of the bigguns, and our work is changing the way video is done in Australia.
The article reblogged here with permission from Kevin Macmillan’s The Works, Sydney and was originally posted on B&T.com


I was very excited heading to Cannes 2013. As I pack my suitcase to head back to Sydney, I’m even more excited.

I don’t remember a time in our industry when young creative entrepreneurs have been more at the forefront of marketing.

The ordered approach to marketing we all know from the past few decades, the approach we all understood to be the correct way is crashing down around us. It was so evident in Cannes throughout the week.

Media is going through the ringer. Research is going through the ringer. Strategy is going through the ringer. And Creativity is thriving. The young creative entrepreneurs up on stage at the talks and the seminars spoke with conviction and were wide eyed about the future.

The older speakers from the old marketing world often appeared like rabbits caught in the headlights. Whether it be the boss of a big corporate organisation or the boss of a big agency, I somehow got the vibe they were merely warning us about the changing approach to marketing, rather than actually being part of it.

It’s always more interesting to hear from the creator of something. The person who made something. Not the person who was there when it was made.

Around the world, technology is allowing young creative entrepreneurs to make more ideas, deliver them quicker to market and use real live testing. So instead of “here’s what the future looks like” the Cannes festival was much more “look what I made”.

Cannes did not feel like an ad festival. If felt like an ideas festival. A place where young creative entrepreneurs could come and share creative stuff. There was a ‘Move over Grandad, you ain’t getting this shit’feeling in the air.

It confirmed what I already thought; that the marketing world would be a better place without all the marketing bullshit.  A better place if we were all brave enough to accept what marketing really is – a simple creative idea to make people love your product.

If I’m going to take one thing away from Cannes it’s going to be this; we are in the age of making ideas, not talking just talking about them. As a creative, that is unbelievably exciting.

Kevin Macmillan is founder and creative partner at The Works Sydney

Dollar signs over the annoying orange

Hey Apple! Annoying Orange Shows How Far Viral Video Web Series Can Take You

By | Technology, Video, Viral Video | No Comments

Not sure what good viral videos or web series are? Annoying Orange, a web series started by Dane Boedigheimer in 2009, can tell you – in his whiney, high pitched voice.

“In 2010, Boedigheimer’s YouTube channel had almost 350 million views and earned an income of $288,000 from ads.” – wikipedia

Yep. And what really hit home was when one of our X-agents was walking through Sunshine Plaza in Melbourne’s outer suburbs (of all places!) and came across this:

That’s an arcade booth, one of those ‘use the hook to get the prize’ machines, full of Annoying Orange merchandise, with the video itself playing on a screen in the back.

The series has been re-broadcast on Cartoon Network, has accessories, toys, clothing, a Halloween outfit and a mobile video game.

That’s what viral videos and web series are good for. Contact us to start your own.

Terry Tate office linbacker comedy viral memes

Three Types of Viral Video: 2. Funny Bone Activation

By | Video, Viral Video | 2 Comments

At The X Gene, we love researching video. One of the types we dissect is viral video. From our crazy experiments and field research, we’ve noticed there are three general categories of viral video. We try and direct our clients to these when discussing video productions, and now you can see what we’ve got to say.

The second is the Funny Bone Activation category.

UPDATE: If the President of the USA can be funny and make fat jokes, what are you really worried about with your brand?

(See also: 1. Did That Happen!? and 3. Sexy NSFW.)

Comedy has always been a fantastic loosener. It’s like a massage that relaxes your audience, making them happier to accept the messages you’re broadcasting. But it has to be funny. That’s bold-italics-underline because it’s the most important. Funny viral shouldn’t be considered lightly. If a video campaign tries to be funny and fails, you lose a whole lot of cool points and set your reputation positioning back to before you brainstormed the campaign. What’s the best way to make sure something is going to be funny? Hire writers and/or comedians. People who dedicate their lives to understanding humour (and need to in order to survive) have a far greater chance of getting the gums giggling. You can oversee the funny-makers, however, by ensuring you understand the audience you’re reaching, and what that audience finds funny.

A superbowl star for Reebok. Combining office humour and football = massive.

Styles of comedy vary from group to group. We at The X Gene love hearing a client’s profile of their brand, and who they want to reach. Sometimes that’s the group that already epitomise the brand; sometimes that’s a new group of people lured to the fold. The comedy stylings of ad campaigns run by, say, Lynx (Axe) Body spray are vastly different to that of Hewlett Packard. Understanding the brand, the audience, then trusting the right writers, comedians, actors, and director to employ the right style is crucial.

Rhys Darby, from Flight of the Conchords, boosted this internal campaign’s juice.

Often, due to the recognisable names in a comedy campaign, social network support is employed to make sure a lot of people notice the star and click through, share, make it easy. Manliest Rituals from Axe Body Spray utilised a customised tab on their Facebook page that acted as a mini-site, thus allowed people to watch the series in Facebook. Sharing was one click away. They also built a regular site, but in-app presence  is an increasingly necessary way to make your audience aware of the campaign you (and your writers) have put time and effort into.

A cruder humour for a teenage, frat boy audience is a lot of fun to make!