Why B2B Companies Should be Using Humor in Ads

I’d like you to think for a moment about a supplier you work with who is always a total pleasure…

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I’d like you to think for a moment about a supplier you work with who is always a total pleasure to do business with. A supplier you think of almost as an extension of your own team. A supplier you always prefer to hire, given the choice.

Now tell me this: did you picture a brand logo or a specific person?

I’m guessing the latter.

That’s because, as the old saying goes, people buy from people. And, unless all your interactions with a company are automated, you will deal with a particular person or small team of people. Your assessment of how much you like that company is a combination of the work they produce and the kind of people they are to work with.

It’s All About Personality

Perhaps they’re friendly to deal with, so meetings put you in a slightly better mood. Perhaps they always make you feel that they’re genuinely interested in doing the best possible job for you. Perhaps they so clearly know their stuff, and are always on it 100%, that you know you can totally trust them.

If you have a person like that in your company: awesome. Hold on to them and don’t let them leave! But here’s the challenge: you can’t replicate that person and send them out to every single person you do business with as a brand ambassador. You need a way to project that fabulous personality of theirs onto your whole company. You need a way of communicating all that awesomeness to potential clients before they’ve even spoken to your team.

Introducing: Brand Voice!

This is what is meant by brand voice. You take all the things people love about dealing with your team and you figure out how to make your company “speak” with the same voice, displaying that same fabulous personality.

Brand Voice in Commercials

Let’s be honest here: a lot of B2B advertising is horrible. Unlike B2C marketing, which is often about being fun and quirky, B2B companies often panic that showing any personality makes them look unprofessional.

But, no! That’s simply not true. Just as that person you love working with doesn’t win your loyalty by perfecting a spot-on corporate robot impression, neither should you.

How to Get it Right

Okay, there are a bunch of different ways to get this right, depending on the personality you want to protect.

Take a look at this great little video from Sprint Business, for example, which says loud and clear, “we’re a cheerful, easy-going bunch who will sort out your problems without any hassle or drama”:

Or take this example from HubSpot, which emphasizes how well the company understands your specific frustrations and shows you how knowledgeable they are about your pain points – without sounding condescending on the one hand, or jargony on the other:

… Or this one, which actually focuses entirely on the customer instead of the company, but uses this to give them impression that Freshbooks’ personality is that of an approachable, non-threatening, total lifesaver who really wants to see you do well.

These are excellent – and safe – ways to approach the challenge… but you can still go one better. If you’re brave enough and have a strong enough idea, the best possible way to stick in a potential customer’s mind is to make them laugh.

Why Comedy?

Making people laugh with your B2B commercial is great for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, hardly anyone is doing it. Simply by doing something interesting and different, you’ll tower above the desert of dryness like a big green cactus on the horizon.

Secondly, it shows that you’re confident enough to poke fun at yourself, as well as the dafter elements of your industry. It says to customers, “We get you, we share the same problems and hassles, we’ll be on your side when tackling them, and we’ll probably have a bit of a laugh while we do it.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that? What a relief!

What Works?

The only drawback to funny B2B commercials is that they really do have to be good. The bar can be depressingly low for B2B ads because while making a really boring video won’t win you customers, it also means you’ll just slip under the radar as if nothing happened. If you make a funny ad, though, it does actually have to be funny.

Plus, the message or punchline still has to work with what your brand’s about, or to help you sell what you’re trying to sell. Otherwise, you’re making people laugh but you’re not actually achieving your marketing goals. This is reeeaaaally important!

Here are a couple of examples of B2B commercials that have used comedy to awesome effect:

The beauty of this video is that it takes a simple metaphor we’re all familiar with (“herding cats”) and just runs with it. This is such a good idea for a company like Electronic Data Systems, the creator of this ad, when faced with the tricky task of trying to explain what data management is all about without getting incredibly complex.

Or take this extremely funny video from Sales Mesh, that brings to life the pain points between sales staff and CRMs:

Perfectly done!

How to Nail It

Want to use humor to project your personality, but not sure you’re qualified to come up with your own slice of comic genius?

Here’s a top idea for you: why not work with some of your favorite funny people to come up with an ace idea that also says something cool about your business?

Take a look at this hilarious video by Tripp and Tyler, which perfectly expresses the frustrations of your average conference call:

We watched that – and we laughed. And then we thought: these guys are SO singing from the same hymn sheet as us!

After all, their breed of comedy is all about teasing out inefficiencies and frustrations in the status quo of business, communication, and getting to the facts… and that’s exactly our starting point, too (except we go a step further and offer a solution at the other end!)

With that in mind, we got in touch with these guys – and came up with something we think will really tickle you. Enjoy!


To find out more about our project with Tripp and Tyler, test your knowledge on BI, and read more click here.

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