Humor and Serious Can Work Together in Marketing


by Kelly Googe Lucas, client marketing director

Have you seen the Idris Elba “Be My Valentine” video making the rounds on social media? If not, oh my, are you in for a treat! For your viewing pleasure:

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling incredibly charitable right now. And that, my friends, is marketing that does its job. Most of us are giving, whether with our money or time. But when we’re bombarded with so many messages of need, they can often turn into white noise and get ignored. It’s not that you don’t want to help, it’s just easier and easier to overlook the deluge of competing demands these days.

Idris Elba Valentine Video Marketing Humor

yes please…

Humor can be a great way of making your message a bit louder than the rest. However, when the topic is serious, is that even appropriate? As Idris has managed to demonstrate, when done properly, it’s appropriate and effective. The humor is not pointed at the non-profit (W.E. Can Lead in this instance), but instead aimed at the salivating women and men of the world who would do just about anything to “pound [Mr. Elba’s] yams.”

Nothing about the charity is funny; empowering girls and young women in Sierra Leone is serious, but by being able to laugh at himself and encourage others to laugh with him, Idris has brought much-needed attention to the organization and its goals. Prior to seeing this video, I had never heard of W.E. Can Lead, and now I have. And I’ve entered for a chance to be Idris’ valentine. Mission accomplished – marketing works.

Next time someone throws out the idea of using humor when promoting one of your firm’s services, don’t be too quick to dismiss it. “There’s nothing funny about estate planning!” Maybe so, but there are appropriate and humorous ways of making people aware of it that would certainly make you stand out in the crowd. What do you think, ready to auction off your managing partner for Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear your thoughts and even ideas that have worked well for you!

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