A new Comedy Central study indicates male millennials feel humor is the leading way to express oneself, beating out music, gaming and sports. Playing off that, the research suggests marketers can capitalize with campaigns heavy on humor.
Young folks “see comedy as the best conduit for expressing their unique brand of Awesomeness,” says Chanon Cook, a Comedy Central vice president in research, in a blog post.
Humor has a special place in male identity, where the research found 90% say it is “instrumental in defining their personality.” Social media offers an important venue to convey that via Facebook and YouTube posting.
The Comedy Central study using young males was no casual effort. In the typical exhaustive fashion used at MTV Networks, it included meetings with participants in their homes, taking some to a live “Workaholics” show and handing out flip cameras for them to record things they found funny.
Of course, while young men want to impress friends with their comedic chops, they believe humor can be a force in the dating world. The research found 58% have posted a humorous video or comment on Facebook looking to find a mate.
Perhaps not solely to be used as a pick-up tool, 40% of so-called “comedy natives” have made a comedic online video – more than double the Gen X production level.
Looking to take advantage of male millennials’ affection for comedy and online video, Axe has joined with Comedy Central on a series of digital videos loaded with dating references.
In one, appearing with “Saturday Night Live” alum Abby Elliott, comedian Owen Benjamin croons: “We learned a lot about girls and guys. Our differences aren’t just between are thighs.”
In another, Elliott evaluates a potential scantily clad date and concludes: “She’s as easy to get into as a state fair.”
Maybe paradoxically, since the promotion is aimed at plugging the Axe Hair brand, the bald David Koechner, also an “SNL” alum, makes up the third member of the comedic trio.
Available on a Comedy Central micro-site, the vidoes have roots in the Nashville stop on a live Axe-backed “Splitting Hairs” tour.
A third leg of the effort includes spots co-branded with the network airing on Viacom platforms as well as CollegeHumor.com, YouTube and VOD outlets on DirecTV and Xbox.
“From the get-go, this was conceived as a multi-dimensional experience,” said Steve Grimes a Comedy Central senior vice president in programming and multi-platform strategy.
As Comedy Central looks to own the comedy genre across multiple avenues such as live shows, books and other opportunities, it’s looking to craft deals (a la the Axe promotion) using platforms that go beyond its bread and butter.
“Our audience is shifting and changing in their media habits and the idea that we can satisfy our audience just by delivering television programming -- those days are gone,” Grimes said.
For example, Comedy Central plans a stand-up app next year as well as a stand-up channel on Xbox, Grimes said.
In executing the Axe initiative, Comedy Central worked with three of the brand’s agencies, Mindshare on media, Edelman on PR and Walton Isaacson on creative. But it wasn’t just Axe that benefited since it served as a “brand extension” for the network, said Andrew Sarnow, a vice president in digital integrated marketing.
Back to the Comedy Central research: young men may be enamored with the Axe videos, but might just feel as if they could easily be starring in them. The study found 60% of millennials feel they’re as hilarious as any professional comic. Guess they believe in their own "Awesomeness."