Branding Voices and Choices
Hassan Ali has handled many large campaigns while at Onion Labs, the Onion’s in-house ad agency, including the brand new comedy series, Dr. Jimm. It stars SNL’s Kenan Thompson and serves to encourage PC-buying millenials to upgrade to new computers.
Hassan has created branded content using the Onion’s satirical voice for companies such as Intel, Progressive Insurance, and eBay.
Hassan’s mission is to create advertising that people actually want to interact with, especially through humor and satire. Hassan is also an active Viner, with 12 million loops.
He talks to our Content Pros hosts today about why laughter is so important and how that simple act can affect brand voices and choices.
In This Episode
- How to identify when to take a risk with your branding voice
- Exploring your brand’s boundaries
- Why it’s important to stay on-voice with your brand
- How incorporating humor can boost your brand
- Determining the right partners for your voice
- How to speak to your audience of “fence-sitters”
- A superior measurement of content success
Quotes From This Episode:
“When you have humor involved in anything, you have the opportunity to diffuse, take the edge off of those concerns, because you have people buying into a funny concept as it is. So people’s guards can go down a little bit and say, ‘Okay, I’ll go along with this joke even if I’m the butt of the joke a little bit.'” —@hassanisms
“If you’re a startup brand, I don’t think you want to be spreading your voice out too much. You want to have a firm, solid voice. Take GrubHub, for example. When they were starting out, they were probably very focused on a very direct marketing campaign that was about getting your food quick. It’s since evolved to create some humorous stuff. But at the beginning, they needed to have established a strong voice that didn’t confuse or diffuse the message.” —@hassanisms
“I do believe that you get someone to laugh at a piece of content and that instantly triggers whatever funky chemicals are in our brain. A positive association with what you’re
watching equals a positive association with the logo that you see at the end of the piece of content.” —@hassanisms
“I think people are, by default, fence-sitters. It’s just like, ‘Oh yeah, sure, I’ve got this coupon for half off a sub at the local deli. Yeah, sure, okay, I’ll check it out.’ You just need a little push to get someone to check out a website, check out an Instagram account, check out whatever. So I consider what we’re doing to get that little push to get someone to either reappraise the brand or to check it out for the first time.” —@hassanisms
What did you want to be when you grew up?
There’s no lack of clarity on this one as Hassan immediately reveals that he wanted to be a music video director. The video that initially inspired him? “It’s the Busta Rhymes, ‘Gimme Some More’ music video. It is a fantastic video. After watching that I was like, ‘I have to do this; I have to be a music video director.'”
Has Hassan given up on that dream? “Do I still want to be a music video director? Sure. I would love to. If there are any bands that want to reach out and let me direct your video, I would love to. But until then, I will probably have to stick to my day job.”
We hope Onion Labs finds a way to incorporate Hassan’s dream into future work. Who knows? Maybe a “Gimme Some More” parody is in his future!