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  • Improvisational Marketing Theater – Tim Washer Tells All At CMWorld

Improvisational Marketing Theater – Tim Washer Tells All At CMWorld

Published on 9/28/2015 by M Ciota

I’m not sure, but I think Tim Washer is about to take the CMWorld podium and tell us how to plan our spontaneity! This ought to be good.



John Cleese maintains this is the fastest way to lower someone’s defenses against (drum roll) marketing messages. Kinda makes sense – you wouldn’t slam the door on a salesperson if you were cracking up, would you? Tim says (and I editorialize a little), “Ask not what comedy can do for you, ask what comedy can do for your customers!” And like many performers, you may fail sometimes, but that’s OK.

It’s worth the risk.

In Improv, mistakes can be hilarious, and productive, and inclusive, and lead you and your audience in new, unexpected, wonderful directions. Tim believes it’s a gift to your audience born of hard left turns, juxtaposition, irony, pain and patterns (ah yes, comedy can hurt!) So if it’s crazy, write it down. It might be so CRAZY that no one has ever considered it. This could put you ahead of the game, so play it serious in case it really is brilliant.

It shouldn’t be too tough, because pain is always serious. But customer pain is a problem that you want to solve. Find it, and exaggerate it to the heights of hilarity. At this point (if John Cleese is to be believed), you’ve got ’em right where you want ’em! Take them from A to B, “then throw in abrupt disruption” – they’ll be totally primed for C, which is your solution.

So where do you start if you’re just not good at being funny?

Like ray-eee-aaane on your wedding day – start with irony, says Tim. Comedy can easily spring from its loins. Keep it simple and succinct – don’t overexplain the joke (or it wasn’t that good). And it may sound like a drastic step (for a marketer), but take an Improv class – Tim thinks it will change your life.

Another way to create humor – begin your story and lead the audience in a certain direction, then go off the rails with an unexpected punch line. Show – don’t tell, and avoid conclusions and hyperbole. And Tim is convinced of one more thing – comedy doesn’t arrive via committee.

I agree – a small group might be funny and inspire each other but a large group just wants to go to Starbucks.

And don’t overlook your customers. There are many more of them (hopefully) than there are of you. They will have fascinating stories – dig them up. What are the odds that others have had the same experience? Once you get the stories, practice telling them and publish them too. If you suck at first, don’t despair, you’ll get better.

So a blogger, a martian, and an orange unicorn walk into a bar….