It’s Easier to Be Creative in Your Advertising If You Have a Sense of Humor |

I’m a very friendly person; I make connections easily with most people. I also notice the tons of little details most folks overlook. It all started with my childhood desire to become another Norman Rockwell. That’s when I first began observing things people normally glossed over. At one time it was how an eyeball reflected light; another time it was the natural lines in lips. I checked out hair, ears, folds of clothing and treads on tires. When I realized that I was becoming the epitome of an obsessive-compulsive illustrator trying to make things as real as real actually is, illustrating strand by strand and leaf by leaf, creating every hair follicle as an individual entity, I became fully aware that it was time to call it quits or make myself a nut case.I decided to channel all that attention to detail in another direction, observing all I could about what goes on around me. This time I was more relaxed, casually noticing the differences in people and how they reacted in response to various stimuli. I listened to what they were saying concerning a variety of subjects, noticed how they walked and reacted to one another, and observed what makes them do what they do when they do it. I became an observer of the human race, and while I was doing it, found that if you approach things with a sense of humor, you’ll become relaxed enough to view them from all possible angles.Take for instance the subject of selling shoes in a TV spot. Initially, wouldn’t it be funny to show a serious business area street scene, with each passerby walking in their own unique and painful gait, as they suffer through the experience of getting to where they’re going in their brand X footwear? You’ve seen individuals that walk funny because their shoes are ill fitting. Put them all together on one street and you’ve got yourself a very funny scene. Forget about the message or what we’d do in subsequent scenes. Just keep thinking and acting out this scene, and let your sense of humor take over. In short order, you’ll make yourself double over with laughter. If you don’t believe me, try it. That’s why making a commercial is fun. If you have enough people contributing their thoughts driven by their unique outlooks on humor, you get to approach your pitch from all possible points of view.In recent commercials they used a dog trained to rub his behind across a rug as if he had worms; maybe that one’s not for you. Then there are more subtle approaches with tongue-in-cheek humor. The Caveman for Geico, the Geico Gecko, the FedEx guy who spent five years as a castaway and upon his return delivered the package he had been protecting. When his curiosity got the best of him and he asked the recipient what it contained, he learned it was a cell phone, a GPS device and a variety of other survival gear.No matter how funny or how serious the end product may be, it all starts out with a bizarre outlook that reflects everyone’s sense of humor. It gets funnier and funnier, sillier and sillier until you arrive at the point you want to be. I saw a cartoon once that showed a woman standing in front of a headstone that read: I think there’s something wrong with the roast beef. The name of the burial grounds shown on the archway just above her head, read something like: Famous Last Words Cemetery. Then there was the Suburban Auto Group who ran a series of Trunk Monkey spots. They showed various hot spot situations that drivers got themselves into, such as a pregnant woman in the back seat ready to give birth, teenagers pelting a car with snowballs, a car thief breaking into a parked automobile, a woman stopped by a traffic trooper, and a burly trucker pounding on a driver’s window trying to egg him out for a fight. In each case, a real chimp, headquartered in the trunk came to the rescue. In the case of the trucker looking for a fight, the driver pressed the Trunk Monkey button and the chimp came out wielding a tire iron that he used to KO the trucker. Each situation ended in the chimp saving the day and promoting a different dealership service. In the truck driver incident, it was promoting a revolutionary new service pending approval from the Attorney General.So if you’re planning to put your business into a commercial, funny, serious or tongue in cheek, start by thinking way, way out of the box. Believe me, it doesn’t require tons of money to make a commercial worth remembering; it takes a good sense of humor to think up the most memorable scenarios.