Comedy meets branding at Ensemble

There’s an old saying: “Dying is easy… Comedy is hard.” And yet the world of branded comedy has been growing year after year—thanks to exploding creator communities, ease of distribution, and evolving consumer habits.

Even legendarily risk-averse brands are jumping into this fast-moving world of comedic media, hoping to earn attention, build connections and, ideally, new brand fans.

“This is a fascinating time for marketers who see the consumer appetite for comedy content growing,” said Baron Manet, of per se brand experience and co-founder of the Toronto speaker series Ensemble Co. All the conditions are right for brands to produce more comedy but just because they can do it, doesn’t mean they can do it well, he said. “Sometimes things can fall flat. Why is that? Is it because the process of creating comedy differs from the way advertising is developed? It’s one thing to make comedy for audiences, but when brands and marketing objectives are added, how does one ‘keep the funny’?”

These are some of the key questions that will be addressed at Ensemble’s “The Future of Funny” event in Toronto on Thursday. The evening will bring together branding and communications professionals, along with accomplished comedy professionals like Aurora Browne of Baroness von Sketch Show.

“Most comedians do what they do to provide honest comment, speak truth to power and to push the envelope, often in provocative ways,” added Sandy Marshall of branded content company Norman Howard and Ensemble co-founder. “But in the world of brands and marketing, comedy requires clarity, collaboration, alignment, patience and, often…bravery. That’s what we want to explore at this Ensemble.”

Speakers will share ideas and observations, gleaned from real-world experience, about what it means to push the envelope through comedy, how brands pitch and develop projects, why the testing phase is critical to a project’s ongoing success, and the importance of defining a brand’s comedic tone.

Veteran content creators will also talk about their ideal collaborations, how they’re framed through the process not the deliverable…and how improvisation can be a critical part of development.


David Brown