May the Farce Be With You
We watch and review a lot of online video at See3, and one trend we see over and over is that videos that catch the cultural moment tend to do very well. When videos touch on something in the current culture they are more likely to be understood, appreciated and shared.
Being in the now can mean playing on current events. For example, organizations working on domestic violence issues were just given a big stage by the NFL to discuss their issues and try to turn a horrible story into some long-term good.
But being in the news isn’t the only way to ride the moment. Another way is through parody.
Funny videos travel, but it’s hard to pull off comedy effectively. Parody is an easier form of comedy – a kind of shortcut to funny because it plays on references people already know. You only need half a joke with parody, the other half is supplied by the reference that you’re making fun of.
I was thinking about this today with the release of a video from Ikea Singapore. This video brilliantly makes fun of the launch videos for technical products, specifically tablets.
This video is beautifully produced, but it’s not complicated. Think about this: Ikea got almost 10 million people to use their own time to watch a video about the launch their 2015 catalogue. If this was done as a straightforward video announcing, “Here’s our new catalogue!”, who would have watched?
Nonprofits and social causes can use parody to illustrate their mission and emotionally engage their supporters to drive them to action.
Here are a few of our favorite nonprofit parody videos. Both do a great job of taking a topic that is part of the popular culture and using it to support their mission.
So DoGooders, how can you use parody? Here’s an exercise for you and your team:
Think of the most routine things you do in your organization related to your mission.
Now list 10 cultural things that are “in the now”, for example:
- American Ninja Warrior
- Apple watch
- big smart phones
- start of school
- upcoming holidays
And then (and this is best done in a group) talk through how you would do a parody of each of these about your work. When you find the magic you will know it.
Has your organization found a way to use parody effectively in the past? Let us know in the comments!