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Why Your Brand Should Have a Sense of Humor

Weight Watchers' latest spokeswoman spent months making fun of the company. Here's the takeaway.
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Earlier this year, Ana Gasteyer, actress and former Saturday Night Live cast member, mocked Weight Watchers on Twitter like it was her job. Now, it kind of is her job.

After Gasteyer fired off rounds of sarcastic tweets to Weight Watchers, including one where she asked whether a binge on children’s gummy vitamins constituted a "cheat day," the company reportedly called Gasteyer in February and asked her to star in Weight Watchers' TV commercials and other advertising.

Why should you care? 

“If brands could just let people know that they have a sense of humor, they can have a bit of fun with marketing,” says branding expert Mary van de Wiel, who is CEO of a New York-based branding consultant firm and has worked with American Airlines and Reader's Digest. 

Weight Watchers certainly isn't the first brand to embrace the lighter side. Take Tide. After The Onion ran a fictitious story called "Hey, Everybody! This Cool New Tide Detergent Video Is Blowing Up All Over The Internet!", the detergent brand actually made a video with a hippie singing about Tide and laundry. The video garnered just over 30,000 views on YouTube. Not exactly "blowing up" the internet, but good for a laugh. 

Another example is Kotex, which three years ago, launched a pretty blatant self-depreciation strategy. The company produced TV ads in which women mocked the very commercials Kotex had made years earlier. You know the ones--women dressed in all white, flittering about, not a care in the world. The company reportedly raised sales and encouraged more than 600,000 online brand interactions, according to Ad Age.

Van de Wiel says the biggest advantage to not taking your company too seriously is that it reminds consumers of one very important fact: We're all human. 

 




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