Wink branding

Agencies working in the brand management space all seem to be coming to the same conclusion: That these are times where getting a laugh is a good thing, and that authenticity and transparency are communication styles that keep showing up in the research as being effective. The message comes with a “wink” to those who get it. Wink

The idea that a little self-deprecating humor can work is not a groundbreaking conclusion, but it continues to reinforce the ideas that not taking your self too seriously and using a little humor to send a message are good things. When tied into a back end social justice, environmental or altruistic component, it really seems to be the winning formula for now – IF you can pull it off.

Big existing and emerging brands like Apple, Healthy Choice, Glaceau, Hulu and others are finding the sweet spot in this style and executing some brilliant campaigns. Make no mistake, this is NOT easy.

The humor used in these campaigns operates on a number of levels that are at the same time complex, subtle, sarcastic, cheesy, intelligent and hip. You have to be VERY culturally aware to “get” a lot of the ironic messaging in these campaigns. It is not meat and potatoes messaging – and when the needle moves, creative shows us why it gets paid the big bucks.

Of course, this has to be true to brand. If you’re inventing your brand today, this is a valid pathway to explore. Your industry, niche, or space within your niche may not allow this style – but that should be because what you’re doing is working, not because you don’t have the ponies to try something new.