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Tickle Your Marketing Funny Bone at Amplify 2023: Is Funny Old Fashioned?

Review by Katie Crisp

If you've ever found yourself ROFLing at TV shows or casually giggling your way through TikTok, you might be tempted to declare, "Is funny old fashioned? Of course not!" But hold your LOLs, because the Amplify conference took this notion and spun it around like a standup comic on a roll. As I embarked on this comedic journey, little did I know that I was about to dive into a humour-packed Pandora's box of marketing revelations that left me grinning from ear to ear!

Cannes: Where Laughter Meets Strategy

Julian Boulding, the maestro of Cannes 2023, took us on a rollercoaster ride through this prestigious event. From purpose to growth, Cannes was the epicentre of marketing's eternal showdown. Last year, purpose was the knight in shining armour, but 2023 added a twist, turning purpose and growth into a dynamic duo. As the suspense built, we stumbled upon a stat that had us raising an intrigued eyebrow: “52% of Film Lions winners intentionally tickled our funny bones,” as Creativepoof's blog cheerfully revealed.

Speaking of humour, it's like walking a tightrope over a pit of puns. The risk is high, but the reward can be monumental. A joke that sticks is like a diamond in the rough, but a flop... well, that's the stuff of marketing nightmares. Being entertaining, on the other hand, is like a safety net of chuckles – less risky, more universally embraced. Yet, to achieve the elusive "laugh-out-loud funny" tag, you need the Midas touch of comedy.

The Cannes crown for hilariousness went to Apple's "unsend messages," a brain-tickler you need in your life, pronto. Others like McDonald's "Raise your arches" and Yorkshire Tea's "Pack Yer Bags" set their own humorous bars, serving us a cocktail of quirkiness.

Ogilvy Unveils: Humour’s Evolution

Fiona Gordon, the ringleader of Ogilvy UK, gave us a peek into humour’s evolutionary journey. Remember the golden age of family TV nights? Those days are now rarer than a unicorn sighting, thanks to personal devices and individual preferences. And let's be real, with a recession here, a pandemic there, and more prime ministers than we can count, life's been a rollercoaster of... less than hilarious events.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce, not a marketing wizard but a storytelling sorcerer, had a thought to share: "The world is not perishing from lack of wonders but is perishing from the lack of wonder." His stories, from the London Olympics to James Bond's royal rendezvous, had us all ears. While not a marketer, his spellbinding tales underscored the essence of campaigns – storytelling that rekindles the magic.

Giggles Galore: Campaigns that Crack Up

In this madcap marathon, the presenters unleashed campaigns that could give a comedian a run for their puns.

Michael Hart – Marmite “Gene Project”
Claire Wood – Rail/Road Safety “Dumb Ways To Die”
Barrington Reeves – Old Spice
Aileen Rushton – Specsavers “Rollercoaster”
Karen Andre – Budweiser “Wasssup”

During a jocular joust among the pros, one truth reigned supreme: humour is the spice of marketing, but the recipe must be tailored. The Irn Bru campaign for example, might be uproarious in Scotland but wouldn't fly south of the border – talk about crossing the humour border!

Crafting a Laugh Riot: Creative Challenge

The agency-versus-client challenge was a rib-tickling battleground. It showcased funny and not-so-funny ads in a dazzling display of creative prowess. But here's the twist – the pitch was the star of the show, with persuasiveness swaying votes like a dance floor diva. In the end, the clients cinched victory, proving that a compelling pitch is a laugh track that seals the deal.

The Amplify After Party: Where Giggles Reign Supreme

And so, the Amplify adventure reached its crescendo with the after party – a fiesta where taste buds danced, drinks flowed like a comedic monologue, and comedians painted the town hilarious. As we laughed, mingled, and unwound, it was clear: Amplify 2023 wasn't just about marketing; it was about finding the "wonder" in the world of laughter and creativity.

In Conclusion: A Laughing Matter

Amplify 2023 wasn't your typical marketing conference – it was a humour-packed extravaganza that cracked open the nut of whether "funny" is a thing of the past. From Cannes glamour to Ogilvy's insights, from hilarious campaigns to the triumph of storytelling, it was a journey that left us rolling in the aisles and inspired to rekindle the magic of wonder and laughter in our campaigns.

So, is funny old fashioned? Not a chance. It's a timeless gem that, when wielded with skill and tailored to the audience, can turn a campaign into a masterpiece. And as we bid adieu to Amplify 2023, remember: in a world that's starved for wonder, a dash of humour might just be the magic potion we've all been waiting for.


Review by Katie Crisp, Marketing and Campaigns Coordinator, Fife College

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