Today’s guest post is by Peppercommer Deb Brown.
OK. Of course, healthcare is serious business. But, is it possible to take something serious like healthcare and connect with key audiences via comedy? The answer: Absolutely! By now, you’ve probably seen President Obama and comedian/actor Zach Galifianakis “spar” on Galifianakis’s web-based show “Between Two Ferns.” If you missed it, you can view it here.
The scripted piece between President Obama and Galifianakis is very funny. And, this is different from President Obama’s visits to late night television. In this episode, the leader of the free world allows himself, and his signature initiative – The Affordable Care Act – to be ridiculed. Few CEOs of corporations, let alone Presidents, would ever allow that. So, kudos to President Obama for understanding the power of comedy.
And, the results speak for themselves: Media reported on the show, it received more than 10 million views and, most important, it helped to increase traffic to the healthcare website by 40 percent!
This show is a perfect example of understanding one’s audience and how to reach that audience. A younger audience, which watches this program, does not want to be lectured to about why they should sign up for healthcare. But, if you can get them to laugh, and watch the President be funny and vulnerable, then the target demographic will pay attention.
Comedy is a powerful tool since laughter forges strong connections. And, when audiences connect, they listen and, ultimately, act. Geico and Southwest are examples of two corporations that use humor very effectively. Whether it’s a Geico commercial (pick one!) or Southwest’s flight attendants making the flight more enjoyable from the beginning, smart comedy makes consumers feel positive about the brand and can increase loyalty. Or, in the case of the healthcare website, help to increase traffic.
At Peppercomm, we strongly believe in comedy as well. Everyone here is trained in stand-up comedy and it’s part of our DNA. The skill sets from comedy help us become better presenters and listeners as well as understand how to engage clients more effectively. It’s also helped us create an exceptional culture, which led us to beating out nearly 1000 other companies for the title of Best Workplace in New York City from Crain’s New York Business in 2012.
Using comedy to articulate your message and attract a key audience is smart and strategic. Laughing about ObamaCare doesn’t make The Affordable Care Act any less serious. But, young adults not signing up? Now…that’s no laughing matter.