I was reading an interview with Charlie Todd of Improv Everywhere on SmartData Collective the other day and what I read and saw was “FUN!”

Improv Everywhere says they create chaos and joy in public places. First they get your attention and then they make you smile. When is the last time you did something silly? Yahoo sponsored this Improv Everywhere event where hundreds of people listened to the same MP3 on their headphones and followed the goofy instructions. How about the largest game of Twister?


On a more deliberate marketing note, watch as my alma-matter T-Mobile, takes over the Liverpool Street Station. Initially, you see the typical moving crowds. As the music begins to play, a few of them start dancing, and then as it progresses, what looked like on-lookers are now joining the dance.

No doubt it was all choreographed, but to the hundreds of people watching at the LS Station and the millions who have now seen it on YouTube, it was captivating. You could see several people using their cell phones to video what they were seeing, which was exactly what T-Mobile wanted. The viral exposure has been phenomenal. It’s been viewed over 10 million times around the world!

So my question is can B2B marketing be fun? What can we do to be more viral? What good examples have you already seen?

  1. Yes, B2B can be fun. As a copywriter, I did a few projects for SAP via Traction, the ad agency just named B2B Interactive agency of the year by B2B magazine. SAP folks were surprisingly open to taking risks. We did a take-off on Iron Chef. We also did a wonderful presentation featuring an animated whiteboard. And for Sun, we did a great concept for Java Studio that featured an animated desktop, visible first-person, with stuff that you’d find in a typical cube–photos, trophy, desk tchotchkes–all of which were links to relevant information.

    None of this stuff was meant to be viral. Give me a need, however, and I can come up with something.

  2. Of course it can be fun. But while crazy/dancing/silly might be one man’s fun, it is another’s nightmare. Fun is enjoyment, and enjoyment is usually when people get what they want. Having said that, the point here is spontaneity – and if that helps separate your brand from the others, it can’t be bad.

  3. I think it depends on who you’re targetting. Here is another great B2B example by Roche: http://roche.cnpg.com/video/flatfiles/843/index.aspx. It’s an unplugged version of a rock video they created to promote a new product.


  4. Good ones.
    We had some fun with this video for ShipServ, the e-marketplace for the shipping industry (not known for its creative marketing).


  5. As John notes, of course it can be fun — the challenge comes in making it effective as well. 10+ years ago we staged a ‘men in black” themed promotion at a oil & gas trade show, complete with a half-dozen tall young men outside the hall in black suits and sunglasses with large cases hand-cuffed to their wrists, distributing coded messages (to be decoded at our exhibit). It was fun — and we dominated the event with our message.

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