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February 01, 2010


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Steve Buchholz

Whether it’s comedy or drama or action or something else, breaking through the clutter is the key, don’t you think? All those genres can work if done well.

Coming up with those ideas is the easy part. The hard part-as you mention-is convincing bosses this stuff works. At Western Dakota Tech, a technical college in South Dakota, we told the management team last fall we were making a “student recruiting video.” We actually were making a short film that management team really liked once they saw it. However, I’m not sure they would have been excited about a short film project up front, in part because it’s a novel idea in higher ed marketing. We took a chance that could have had serious consequences, but it worked out. Whew.

We premiered the film Jan. 29. So far, the reviews are good. Another whew.

Feel free to watch it at www.wdt.edu/thechoice. I’d love to hear what you think.

Steve Buchholz
Marketing Director
Western Dakota Tech

David Meerman Scott

Steve -- excellent video. Powerful opening. A bit long though. Do you have stats on how many people watch to the end?


Steve Buchholz

David: Not yet since it's so new. In testing, very few viewers bailed before the end.

Steve B.

Mary Ellen

I love this post! I agree, having more fun at work is essential to productivity and office morale. Here is a short clip of my bosses keynote presentation based on her book, Joy Rules! She discusses tapping into silliness at work and joy in the workplace, among other topics. This is such a great topic!! Keep up the good work, David! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwBuz2XyoHs#watch-main-area

If you have any feedback, I would love to hear it!

Thanks again,

Kathleen Seide

Damn you DMS!
I just spent 20 min on your videos when I was supposed to be doing (insert Tues morning work object here)!
Great video - I'm glad you are getting these opportunities and are sharing them with us ; )

David Meerman Scott

Thanks Kathleen -- I'll keep doing videos. They are a lot of fun.


Despite initial internal skepticism as to its value/relevance, we've been using humor to connect with our engineering customers for the last two years. We've found a way to connect with engineers on a personal, and maybe even emotional level (yes, contrary to what you're told, we engineers do have emotions). Check out our work at http://anengineeringmind.com.

We are starting to see benefits beyond just connecting with our customers. A large industry tradeshow has asked us to provide funny content to run at their show, giving us sponsorship-level exposure for free. That equates to thousands of dollars worth of visibility in front new contacts at our most important event of the year. They're even going to fly me to NYC to interview their keynote speaker, Dr. Michio Kaku (http://www.mkaku.org), and fly me to the tradeshow to be their "engineer on the street," reporting live from the event.

And that's just the first of several opportunities we're uncovering. Who would have thought humor could give us such a return?

Heather Rast

Humor in business, like its cousin, the rare "I'm sorry," has a wonderful disarming effect on people. Lightheartedness or a joke (particularly if self-deprecating)sends a message that you're unconcerned with being vulnerable, that you're open and receptive to being "real." I agree, humor is a powerful tool in marketing, one that could help authenticate relationships between consumers and the brands that dared to forge a position without pretense.

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