So, It's Like a Barn?
"It's certainly not unusual that a stand up comedian like Tim Washer would be producing absurdist viral videos," notes AdAge. "What is surprising is that the IBM communications executive is doing so for his straight-laced corporate employer."
Washer's first mini-mockumentary for the conservative company was called Mainframe: The Art of the Sale, Lesson One. Inspired by NBC's The Office, the video compared buyers to ranchers and farmers, attracted nearly 240,000 views on YouTube and introduced this satirical tagline: "The Mainframe. It's Like a Barn."
It also annoyed at least one viewer. "Some woman got very upset at me about making fun of farmers," he says in a videotaped speech posted at AdAge. "I've tried to get on Jay Leno to apologize to the farming community. That wasn't my intent at all, obviously. Look, I've learned as a stand-up comedian, somebody's always going to be offended at what you say."
And this gets to the crux of Washer's philosophy—any large corporation will experience fear if it plans to establish an authentic presence in social media. "Before we pulled the trigger and published this," he concedes, "we thought a lot about the ramifications. One of the executives said, 'If one of our competitors was doing a video about us, they'd do something just like this.' It gave us pause for minute, and then we just went ahead and said, let's experiment."
Fortunately for Washer and IBM, the risk paid off, and your Marketing Inspiration is to consider the value of embracing absurdity, doing it well and surprising your audience.
→ end article preview
Read the Full Article