Posts by: Brian Burr

Laughing (With or) At You?

November 2, 2015 — Brian Burr

We’ve all experienced embarrassing moments; a clumsy misstep sends you tumbling to the floor; an errant turn of the fork transforms your new shirt into a Jackson Pollock painting; a faulty wheel on a push cart sends half a pitcher of sangria to the ground outside the elevators on CBX’s fourth floor… (OK, maybe that last one was just me).

It’s important to remember that embarrassing moments only define you when you let them. Compose yourself when your face is flushed and your ears are burning so that people laugh with, instead of at you. Being able to play off the moment and laugh with everyone demonstrates an authenticity that people find endearing.

This idea is not exclusive to human-to-human interactions. In a marketplace where consumers are constantly searching for real connections with brands, a little self-depreciation can go a long way.

Brands using humor in their messaging is nothing new, but lately we’ve seen more brands turn the focus of the jokes back on themselves. Things that marketing teams would have once worked hard to hide are now leading the conversation.

Take Dressbarn’s Fall 2015 campaign. After decades of battling consumers’ hesitancy to bridge the gap between women’s fashion […]

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The Super Bawl: Nationwide Insurance’s Disruptive Campaign

February 9, 2015 — Brian Burr

For a Super Bowl decided by what some have called the worst play call in NFL history, it’s no surprise that tears were shed. But in a world where hundreds of people actually bet on the potential length of Katy Perry’s pants, few would have been able to predict the real cause of many viewers’ emotional afflictions. In what felt like a flood of serious advertisements, no brand pushed the envelope more than Nationwide Insurance. The 45-second spot “Make Safe Happen” aired halfway through the second quarter and immediately became what I like to call the “Marley & Me” of Super Bowl commercials, based purely on its heartbreak potential. The ad, which was intended to raise awareness of accidental child deaths, features a young boy listing the many accomplishments he will never achieve. Inspired by childlike wonder and accompanied by impressive special effects, the ad then takes a serious turn when the child actor coolly admits, “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.” An overflowing bathtub, poisonous cleaning supplies and overturned television set fill the frame as a narrator urges viewers to help “make safe happen.”

The reaction went over just about as well as you would […]

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