And don’t forget absurdity…. A new survey on the impact of comedy, from, surprise, surprise, Comedy Central, finds that “More than music, more than sports, more than ‘personal style,’ comedy has become essential to how young men view themselves and others…”
Interestingly, the survey pretty thoroughly dissed distaff millennials (hey, “girls” just aren’t funny, right? For an alternative perspective, says the father of two girls, check out this New York Times feature). Of course “Comedy Central’s audience ‘skews 65 percent male.’ So does most of its talent…” and therefore the emphasis makes good business sense, if failing to rise to the level of broadly relevant research.
Still, overlooking the majority of millennials allowed Comedy Central’s researchers to concentrate on the sophisticated tendencies of my much-coveted younger brethren, yielding such nuggets as:
• Young men like toilet humor (they had to do research to figure that out?)
• Millennials are “comfortable with uncomfortable truths” (Translation, anything goes)
• Irony is out, absurdity is in
• Millennial men have a short attention span (again, my observation from the first bullet above), so keep the humor short and fast-paced
Which is not to say millennial men are immune to comedy of substance (no, not those substances). Two of their favorite shows are “The Daily Show,” and its love child, “The Colbert Report,” arguably two of the funniest pretend/pretend attacks on the realities of political and cultural life as we suffer them today.
Laugh all you want… funny works. The upshot for marketers? Funny works. Always has. Always will – and with this group, more than ever. I’d also submit that, as the best humor comes from the truth of life well-observed, brand truth – and ensuing trust – can be built as well on laughter as on any other foundation.
(That said, you might want to ponder the laughable truth about all of us marketing types in Stephen Colbert’s recent “sponsortunity” feature on Wheat Thins.)