Last week, Cisco’s senior marketing manager of social media, Tim Washer, talked to AdAge about using humor in B2B marketing. Washer is no stranger to humor — he spent part of his career as a comedian and actor, and he still occasionally writes for late-night TV shows. In an interview framed by Cisco’s video spot touting its ASR 9000 router as a romantic Valentine’s Day gift, Washer explained that humor is a key component to brands’ ability to add value.
The funny spot shows a human side to the B2B brand that is sometimes hard to express. B2B companies need to show that side of their brand or it’s hard to connect with those in the organization. While humor’s value is hard to quantify, Cisco isn’t the only B2B brand that understands its importance in marketing.
These three B2B marketing campaigns prove that business doesn’t always have to be stiff.
Processing manufacturer Intel has a solid reputation of employing some of the best geeks in the business. In this video spot, the tech firm pokes fun at its geeky employees with an inside joke that only coders, programmers, or engineers have a chance of getting.
In the spot, one employee makes a small change to an equation written on glass while his colleague is out of the room. When his colleague notices, he’s immediately unable to control his laughter. It’s a fun way to shine a little light into the inner workings of Intel, and is something you can imagine actually happening — but maybe in a different way — during an average day at Intel.
Everybody loves a rap parody — especially when it’s performed by some white geeks from a tech company. Vertical Response caught on early to the idea of humor when it put out this spoof on a Dr. Dre song to promote VerticalResponse for an AppExchange a few years ago. It’s an “oldie but a goodie,” as they sometimes say.
What’s great about the parody is that you can still insert a lot of information about the brand and product because there’s plenty of lyrical space to fill. The format itself is inherently funny, and it doesn’t cost a lot to produce. Actually, sometimes the more amateur a humorous spot looks, the better.
It’s not only huge tech firms and corporate B2B firms that can tackle humor successfully. Regional repo man Walter Salmon proves that with a little creativity and some internet savvy film makers, a small B2B business can benefit from a funny commercial as well.
In this spot, Salmon’s repossession skills are highlighted in what resembles a cheesy infomercial. Local businesses everywhere should find inspiration in Salmon’s marketing.