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News And Views

News & Views

Joan Collins
  • 15 June 2015
  • Howard Bowden

Does ‘classic’ humour always stay funny? You’re having a laugh…

Joan Collins

The funny thing about humour, I’ve always thought, is how groundbreaking styles often become quickly dated - it’s one thing to successfully push the comedy envelope, but something quite different to keep people laughing about it a few years later.

According to my back of pop cultural fag packet maths, you can trace a line of (genuinely groundbreaking) British TV comedy from post-war to today as follows: The Goons (50s), Peter Cook and Beyond the Fringe (60s), Monty Python (70s), The Young Ones (80s), The Fast Show (90s) and The Thick of It (00s) - and while I’ve loved all the above when first discovered, there’s some on the list that I could probably do without watching again for a fairly long time. As opposed to, say, similar seminal moments from half a century of British pop music - The Beatles, Bowie or Blur, fr’instance, not only stand the test of time but often seem to get better with age.

The Guide in Saturday’s Guardian ran a great piece last year on how TV ‘comedy classics’ stood up to modern day audiences, and whether or not they’re actually, you know, funny - and while Absolutely Fabulous (90s) and Hancock’s Half Hour (60s) were deemed to have hilariously lasted the course, Monty Python (70s) and The Office (00s) received a big comedy thumbs down.

I mention all this because 3 Monkeys is hosting an event this week with our friends at PR Moment, looking at how humour can play a role to help brands engage and entertain across digital, social, earned media and owned media. The point being, of course, that if you want to engage with an audience, you need to ensure that the humour still actually works. Because after a while, some humour doesn’t, particularly when you distil it through several layers of post-modern 21st Century irony. And be honest, that hilarious cat video on Facebook loses its charm after someone’s posted it for the 164th time, right?

So ahead of our event, here are five examples of humour in brand comms which I reckon all still work - four from the recent past, and one from the 70s, which is possibly just as good now as it was then:

TNT: Push Button to Add Drama (2012)

Pot Noodles: Not so ‘super’ now, eh? (2013)

Ford Mustang: Speed Dating (2015)

Is your cat about to leave you?

Cinzano: Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter (1978)

Thanks for reading, you can follow the conversation on twitter, #lolcomms, we'll even be on periscope on the night. You can join us, 6:20PM @3monkeysPR, see you there.