Hello, world! Welcome to my Laugh TM blog about branding and humor! In this blog, I will look at how different companies use humor in their campaigns to create, define, or redefine their brand. Each week, I will look at one campaign and ask a series of questions about it. Why did the company choose to use humor for this campaign? Who is the target audience for this campaign? Does the company understand the needs of its target audience? Are they fulfilling these needs? What is the message behind the humor? Does the message come through or are we too distracted by the humor? By asking these questions, we can see whether or not the company is able to use humor to positively affect their brand, or whether they’re just failing to reach an audience they don’t fully understand.
For the purposes of this blog, whenever I refer to a company’s “brand,” I am referring to the collective public image of a company. This includes how we, the public, see the company, and what notions are conjured whenever upon mentioning a company.
In an age where six second videos dominate our social media feeds, a humorous campaign that can capture our interest for more than one viewing can not only improve our likelihood of buying their product, but can create a whole new public image for the company. One great recent example of a company who has redefined their brand through humor is Kmart. After seemingly falling off the earth, Kmart was lost in the world of superstores, losing out to giants like Walmart and Target. In an effort to redefine themselves, Kmart released their “Ship My Pants” commercial.
Although it initially received criticism from One Million Moms, the campaign has continued with a few other similar tongue-in-cheek ads and been popular amongst younger crowds. How do I know? Growing up, Kmart was the store that closed at the local mall and was never heard from again. Following this commercial, Kmart has become the “fun” company, prompting me and my peers to search for the nearest Kmart locations to check them out.
In the Kmart example, they realized that they weren’t going to compete with an older crowd who had already chosen their favorite superstore, and instead decided to focus on a younger crowd who would be beginning to provide for themselves, and would be captivated by a humorous and sarcastic campaign.
In the following weeks, I will examine more of these recent campaigns in more detail and speak to how their efforts have affected their brand.