Comedy can be a tough thing to crack for brands, especially on the web. It’s not easy being funny, and if you try too hard, the audience will immediately know and respond accordingly.
Which is why many advertisers, when looking to do something funny, enlist the services of those who actually know how to make people laugh. But here, again, advertisers can run into the same problems if they try to exert too much control over the content.
“Once you select the right comedy partner for your brand, you need to really go in with an open mind,” says Nicole Estebanell, SVP of media at DigitasLBi. “If you go in and try to be prescriptive, you’ll miss out on opportunities for what could have been comedic genius; what could have been a story that would have resonated with your audience.”
Audiences can always tell if they are being force-fed something. So it’s in an advertiser’s best interest to trust the funny people to do what they do best. “Your partnership needs to be authentic to the content, and the conversation around it,” confirms Estebanell. “Otherwise your content partner’s loyal fanbase won’t go for it — and they’ll spurn forced, irrelevant brand placement.”
Understandably, advertisers want to protect their brand — it’s better being in on the joke rather than the butt of it. That said, don’t be afraid to have a sense of humor. “Because this is a partnership, you should work together to ensure that the content is beneficial to your brand and stays on strategy,” advises Estebanell, “but you also need to be able to laugh at yourself.” Because that’s something audiences will respond to — and in a good way.
Overall, working with comedy creators on YouTube isn’t different than talent in other categories. The same rules apply: Approach it as a partnership, be authentic, and you will be rewarded. Comedy can be scarier to do, but if it’s pulled off successfully, it’s likely to resonate more than other types of content.
After all, who doesn’t like to laugh?
Based on data provided to us by Outrigger Media and its Emerging Talent Tracker tool, here are the top five emerging comedy channels on YouTube.
- SlateScore: 417
- Total Subs: 8,814
- Monthly Views: 681,930
“Peep Show” is a brilliant British comedy from comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb. If you want to watch full episodes of the series, you can do so on Hulu Plus. However, for some of the show’s best sketches and scenes, its YouTube channel is the place to go.
- SlateScore: 433
- Total Subs: 9,955
- Monthly Views: 127,290
Stand-up comedy is a tough business to succeed in. One of the benefits of YouTube is that it provides the chance for funny men and women, who for years have had to toil away on the circuit at comedy clubs and bars, an opportunity to reach a much larger audience. While currently touring India and Bangalore, comedian Sanjay Manak’s channel features an array of his best bits, from live stand-up sets he has done, to sketches and, of course, comedy music videos.
- SlateScore: 440
- Total Subs: 16,174
- Monthly Views: 381,210
The Skorys are a group of four siblings who like to make funny videos. From tips and how-to videos like “Handy Tips on Becoming a Superhero,” to original sketches like “Fireboy and Watergirl,” to their web series “The Backyard Hunger Games,” there’s a lot of absurdity and insanity on this channel.
- SlateScore: 448
- Total Subs: 25,171
- Monthly Views: 107,373
For sketch comedy groups, YouTube can function in the same way as rising stand-up comedians. It’s a great resource for getting your name and your work in front of the masses. Aunty Donna, a group of sketch comedians from Australia, is one such group leveraging the world’s biggest video site.
- SlateScore: 488
- Total Subs: 64,856
- Monthly Views: 1,067,760
Pranks are incredibly popular on YouTube. One of the top rising stars in the prank world is Omar Gosh, who has accumulated more than 65,000 subscribers since joining YouTube in late 2011. His most popular video? A charitable prank in which he does something nice for a homeless person in Tampa. The video’s success points to another positive aspect of prank videos that both creators and brands can take advantage of — they don’t only have to be funny, they can also make other people feel good, and in turn, want to share the moment with their friends and family on social networks.
YouTube data provided by Outrigger Media’s OpenSlate platform and Emerging Talent Tracker, which ranks rising YouTube channels by a measure of influence.