There is an old adage in Hollywood — “Funny is Money.” It means funny content is entertaining and will draw a crowd, whether to a movie, TV show or whatever form the content takes.
Now, WPP’s Kantar is teaming with Second City Works, the B2B arm of the well-known improv theater, to add some fun and fresh thinking to marketing plans. The basic idea: maybe consumers will be a little bit more engaged if you tickle their funny bone. That, in turn, just might lead to brand growth.
The two companies have formed a joint venture called Brandstage.
The joint venture will work with marketing organizations to drive new product innovation and to develop unique marketing and communications ideas. It will work with clients on customer experience issues, was well.
Second City Works, formed in 2014, uses improvisational methods and audience-centered collaboration to help brands engage with consumers. The unit has worked with Kantar’s Millward Brown since 2015; that alliance is now being expanded into the full-blown Brandstage joint venture.
“We believe laughter, or no laughter at all, is a powerful insight,” said Second City president Steve Johnston. The firm has used improv techniques in the comedy space for years to gauge the response of audiences and to “measure the totality of an idea.”
“The same methods we use to take the cultural temperature of a captive audience at Second City can be used to determine the effectiveness of a particular campaign, brand message or content territory,” he added.
The great John Cleese — who knows a thing or two about improv — figured that out too, bringing his off-beat comedic approach to the world of corporate training, not to mention all the funny ad work he’s done for blue-chip clients like Amex, Tostitos and Sony.
Tim Wragg, CEO of Kantar, Insights, North America, said: “Our partnership with Second City Works cements one of our most innovative, impactful offers within Kantar. We look forward to expanding our offer to help our clients and WPP partners get the most out of our collaboration.”
Well, if that translates to brand growth, clients just might climb on board.