Life is not meant to be that hard, and neither is marketing. Every once in a while, a swift kick in the pants is just what the doctor ordered to remind us not to take ourselves quite so goddamn seriously. As Brandan Gill wisely observed, "Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious."
For those readers who haven't yet figured out that I'm not quite as entrenched in the land of B2B as some of my brilliant Savvy Sisters, confession: I'm not. I'm really more of a B2E kind of girl - believing that people are people and you're never really marketing to an industry or a building, but to individual human beings who - despite working in B2B - are still flesh and blood. They even come with emotions, and - most importantly - a sense of humor. Milan Martin's Advertising Age article, Why B2B Advertising Is Like the Awkward Girl in High School, is a great metaphor for the potential for B2B to shine once she realizes her human component.
Inspired by these thoughts, I did a little searching for "fun B2B." Below are the fruits of my labors: 7 B2B marketing campaigns geared to engage the human element of B2B. Some are old, some are new.
xCELLigence's heavy metal tribute to "little cells." Bon Jovi, watch out!
ShipServ digs up a retro announcer to give a public service announcement warning purchasing agents against purchasing robots and endless emails.
Cisco's retro Valentine advises amorous romeos to consider the ASR9000 as the perfect Valentine's gift.
Sun Microsystems had some fun with a promotion around all the extra space customers would have after installing their new, size-optimized server. Read the case study here.
IBM's Green Data Center Man is just one in a series of great ads for energy-saving solutions. Here's another one with a snappy soundtrack.
Marketing provider Hubspot produced this Alanis Morrisette-inspired music video to explain how inbound marketing brings leads to their clients. Catchy.
Lastly, here's a blog post about an innovative "humanizing" tactic used by wholesale chair designer/manufacturer, Grand Rapids Chair Company. Who knew voicemail could be so cutting edge?
Now, I realize there's more to B2B (or any kind of) marketing than making people laugh. Still, it's a pretty good place to start. I hope these examples inspired a few chuckles. More than that, I hope that if you've produced or come across any other examples of fun B2B campaigns, that you'll share them in the comments section. After all, the world can always use a few more smiles!
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