If you read my blog frequently, you know how I feel about using fun and humor to cut through the “blah, blah, boring” in b2b. One of my new favorites from Cisco is a video around the theme of Father’s Day and featuring Cisco’s ASR 9000 router, labeled as, “The Perfect Gift for Dad.” While not really targeting dads (hey, it could happen – even corporate buyers are dads!), Cisco ties its video to something fun (with “Leave it To Beaver” black and white footage) and nostalgic. What’s as awesome as great memories of “Dad?” Clearly, according to Cisco, this router is. While I can’t comment on the awesomeness of the product, I can tell you this video is almost as awesome as dad. If a message cuts through the noise ( and humor does this nicely here), this video will make its way to the ideal audience (are you going to spend six figures on a router for dad?!). Talk about “awesome.” Nice job, Cisco and Tim Washer.

Tim Washer, social media funny guy, was the creative force behind IBM’s legendary “Art of the Sale” video series, which were incredibly successful for IBM (not exactly known for lightening up). Tim, who recently left IBM for Cisco (IBM’s loss), has some other great tips on using humor in corporate endeavors (source: http://blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu/mccombs-today/2010/06/happy-fathers-day-from-tim-washer-corporate-funny-guy)

Focus on the problem your product / service solves. Then exaggerate it to the extreme. Hyperbole is always funny.
Point out contradictions in your industry that are “inside jokes” among your target audience, and play on those. Nick Morgan of Public Words shares an example in his blog post.
Be ridiculous. That’s the approach we took for the Father’s Day video. Not many folks would think it’s reasonable to spend six figures on telecom gear for Dad.
And Tim is a man who clearly knows his funny corporate video. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that his picture resembles a pose worthy of Stephen Colbert!