Funny Business PR | Why Don’t Companies Use Cartoons in Their Marketing?


After writing about Google’s Chrome comic book, I asked Brad Shorr, who frequently writes about business humor and is a business cartoon writer to guest post and talk about  . . .

Why Don’t Companies Use Cartoons in Their Marketing?

By Brad Shorr, guest author

As a business cartoon writer, this question crosses my mind more often than I’d like to admit. Naturally, I think cartoons are a superb way for a company to market itself, strengthen its brand, build customer loyalty, drive home its message, and draw serious attention to its print advertisements, Web pages, newsletters, blogs, and intranet pages. Custom cartoons are inexpensive as marketing expenses go, and quite a bit of fun to develop.

So again, why aren’t companies jumping on the cartoon bandwagon? (BTW, I’m not talking about my cartoons specifically, mind you. Cartoons in general are not commonly used in B2B or B2C, regardless of the sector.)

  1. Grim determination. Business is serious business. Whether a company is manufacturing space shuttle components or yo-yos, management takes things like sales and marketing rather seriously. Managers are seldom in a frame of mind to think funny.
  2. Not thinking like the customer. Customers don’t take your products and services as seriously as you do. Customers have their own problems. One thing you can give them is relief from the daily grind. That’s why YouTube gets more hits in an hour than any super serious corporate Web site gets in a month.
  3. Risk aversion. Companies don’t like taking chances. They don’t like trying something unless everybody else is doing it. A lot of companies talk about wanting to be different, to be groundbreaking, to be trendsetters. Mostly that’s malarkey. They only want to be different as long as it’s safe, which is hardly ever.
  4. Trivialization. Companies feel funny spending their hard earned cash on something silly like a series of cartoons. Management might think cartooning will trivialize their business.

Now, depending on the situation, some or all of these concerns might have some validity. Certainly, any communication strategy has to reflect the values and aims of the company putting out the message. But if increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty are part of the equation, cartoons and other forms of humor ought to be considered. GEICO didn’t get to be number one because its policy riders were well written.

Image credit: © Word Sell, Inc. via flickr

What do you think? Have you ever considered using cartoons in your clients’ marketing or your own? Why or why not?


clip_image001Brad Shorr lives in the Chicago area and is president of Word Sell, Inc. He helps organizations strengthen their online presence with business blogs and compelling Web content.

Brad writes extensively on his own and many other blogs, mainly about writing, online marketing, entrepreneurship, sales, and business humor.

Contact Brad about business cartoons for your business or organization.

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