Getting people to chuckle is a good way to get them to keep watching your video. Good explainer video producers can deliver engaging, humorous videos, which turn out to be hugely popular with sales teams and executives in the companies that commission them. But, does this make them effective?
I haven’t been able to turn up any definitive research that attempts to answers this question yes or no — certainly none that focuses on our niche, B2B technology marketing videos. But here are seven reasons why I think you should not put a high priority on humor your marketing videos.
Prospects’ time, your money
First, there’s the question of investment in creative resources. Professional comedy doesn’t come cheap — and you definitely don’t want cheap jokes.
Ask yourself how many prospects watching your video will be un-aware of your brand. Suppose they never heard of your company. Do you suppose they stumbled on it searching for something amusing? No. They are watching your video because something they read or heard convinced them that you might have an answer they are looking for, or a better way of doing things. So, is the best use of their time and your money being funny, or giving them what they came for?
Serious subjects deserve serious treatment
In social situations, self-deprecating humor — not taking yourself too seriously — is usually appreciated. Not being taken seriously by someone else, on the other hand, is problematical.
So when it comes to video, you probably should not treat the prospect’s situation as laughable, certainly not if theirs is a problem fraught with consequences (e.g., data quality in healthcare, compliance in banking, privileged access in network security).
Humor is not a universal language
Seems obvious, but humor in not a universal language. To be sure, there are common metaphors (the “data lakes” of big data) that can be wittily visualized, but jokey cultural references, snark, and irony can get in the way of your message crossing cultures and generations. And make your technology harder for some prospects to understand. Why would you want that?
Big ticket items
Does your solution cost more than a few thousand dollars? To whom is that a joke?
Buying committees don’t want to have fun
Well, maybe they do. But don’t count on it. Some members may not even have a sense of humor. Or may lose it when arguing for (or against) your solution. Your videos should, first and foremost, provide them with memorable, persuasive moments. Amusement may be a plus. It may not.
If you’re trying to redefine, reposition, or otherwise present the viewer with a vision not seen before, you’ll undercut your own effort if you come across as not being really serious about the whole thing, yourself.. .
Solemn as an ass?”
When in doubt, maybe you should consider Corwin’s Law . Senator Tom Corwin, a mid-19th century Ohio politician and U.S. Treasury Secretary, always claimed he would have risen higher but for his reputation as a funny guy (a courageous guy, too, known for opposition to the Mexican war). His oft-quoted (tongue-in-cheek) advice to President Garfield was
Never make people laugh, General. If you would succeed in life you must be solemn — solemn as an ass. All the great monuments are built over solemn asses.
“Solemn as an ass” is decidedly not what I’m recommending here. Your video can’t be boring. It ought to be witty. But, most of all, it has to inspire the viewer to — seriously — want to learn more.
For more ideas about the kinds of things that should go into your technology marketing video, check out our latest guide, Creating Technology Marketing Videos with Shareable Ideas.