The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


YouTube: Prozac For The Digital Generation?
March 20, 2009, 6:57 am
Filed under: Comment

So on Monday, I had a uber-shitty day at work and needed to take my mind off stuff.

I wasn’t in the mood for talking … there was no crappy food to be seen … I’d already completed all the ‘kill’ games of my various consoles and the cat just wasn’t going to do it – so at a loose end, I logged onto YouTube and just pressed on random links.

After trawling through page after page of the sort of thing that made Les Dennis look talented, I finally came across this …

Apart from the fact the little bastard made me think that’s what Andy must of been like when he was a child [assuming he once was an actually baby] I realised I was smiling.

I watched it again.

I smiled some more.

I clicked on some more links.

I found newsreaders – the people we look to in our hour of need for a professional, authorative and knowledgeable understanding of what is going on – making complete arses of themselves …

… or arses making a complete idiot of their professional, authorative and knowledgeable newsreader owner …

I started laughing.

I felt the pressure slowly disappearing and realised there was an opportunity for a health brand to create a branded ‘laughter is the best medicine‘ channel on YouTube … something that could help the digital generation snap out of any temporary malaise they may be experiencing.

Actually not a health company – they like people feeling sick and depressed, it’s what makes them their huge profits – but for someone like the Samaritans it could be a boom, or even Google given they want to prove they’re not evil and want to make the World a little bit better for all of us.

[You can have that for free George 😉 ]

I am not saying a compendium of funny videos is going to fundamentally help the genuinely depressed and ill – of course not – but as a little ‘pick-me-up’ it could work wonders, hell it worked for me – and from a brand perspective, not only could it be something that can be instigated for zero cost, it might actually make people feel quite positive towards a category which, if we have any view about it at all, is probably not all that emotionally strong.

Just a thought.


19 Comments

Those clips are great especially the “Gay climbs mountain” one. I love that you can see her colleagues facial expression change from serious to WTF!

I love the youtube = digital prozac idea, there could be an index that lets people choose how dark their sense of humor is so they can be served with appropriately funny clips to lift their mood.

It’s simple, lovely and practical for both people and certain brands so you can be happy your misery wasn’t in vain. 🙂

Comment by Pete

I was happy before I watched those videos but now I am almost chripy. You’re right about baby Charlie being how I imagine Andy way back when, what a scary thought for his parents. (Charlie’s, not Andrew’s)

Nice idea Robert, I will have “words”.

Comment by George

Fart gags enhance brand equity? You’ve finally lost it.

Comment by John

You should put some on your blog Mr Dodds because whenever I check it out, I end up feeling very depressed 🙂

Comment by Rob

I never took you for a puritan John.

Of course it would be very dependent on who was to “sponsor” the channel and their reasons for doing it, but I like the concept including the inclusion of the odd fart gag.

Comment by Lee Hill

Did you read the post properly John?

I’m not saying Cadbury should create a ‘cheer-up-channel’ [though it would fit with Fallon’s bloody strat] … or Coke as part of their ‘Coke Side Of Life” campaign … I’m saying it might be a nice idea for any brand who say they are about protecting the health and welfare of society – be it Google or the Samaritans.

It’s only an idea … and given how the Samaritans or the health industry usually promote themselves, I think it’s a fair bit more positive, though I would say that wouldn’t I, ha!

And it’s not a fart gag – I don’t think newsreaders/presenters intend to do that sort of thing [unless they’re Dom Jolly or have a deathwish] – it’s about showing the humour in everyday life, the sort of things that can make people smile out of both absurdity and relief [that it didn’t happen to you]

The other way of looking at it is the ‘Jerry Springer’ effect … where once you’ve seen the guests he has, you realise you’re not in as bad a place as you might of originally thought.

Not that you would ever think you’re not good enoug Mr Dodds. 😉

Comment by Rob

Hi Robert. Love the clips, I like the idea as well but I reserve the right to hate it once I’ve given it more than 3 seconds thought. 🙂

By the way I saw George yesterday and he told me about your Andrex idea. Absolute devious genius. Everything is crossed for you, it would be awesome to see happen and it just leaves me wondering why you’ve never come up with anything that good for us?

Hope Andy is behaving himself. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

You don’t pay us enough 😉

PS: He’s not in jail, but there’s still plenty of time.

Comment by Rob

Yes I read it properly and I see the logic – my concern is that it risks going down the Fallon/Cadbury/joy route about which you and I both have doubts.

OK, this would be low cost [only an ad guy could describe it as zero cost ;o)] but unless you’re saying “we stand for making you life a little better” and continuing that at some cost through other channels, how is the “viewer” going to get that connection cemented in their brain? Wouldn’t you risdk it becoming another sponsored thing where people notice the contnet but not the sponsor. No I’m not jet-lagged, I’m just in a bad mood cos I flicked though Lovemarks in the airport bookstore and it’s more annoying than I remembered.

Comment by John

I can see your point John but if the samaritans sponsored it wouldn’t its relevance be obvious given the theme Robert suggests it should adopt?

I’m in total agreement with you relating other brands possible association but for the samaritans I think it’s quite a sweet little idea.

As for Lovemarks, you only have yourself to blame which is probably why you’re so annoyed. In other circles what you just did is referred to as self harm. 🙂

Comment by Bazza

I think it’s a great idea. John, keep on the HRT.

Comment by Will

can i play devil’s advocate and throw up a couple of counterpoints?

firstly the desire for instant fix/instant gratification compounds unhapiness. i know that watching funny stuff for a while isn’t always looking for instant “fix”, but perhaps you found them ‘light’, rob, because you’re actually a reasonably balanced person, with regular income, a wife, a home, sobriety and a sense of proportion.

secondly, i think that humour is often an easy way out for brands (and insecure people). if it’s funny, people react well and you’re sold – don’t have to delve any deeper, or think any harder. just look at all the TVCs – 8 out of 10 are trying to be quirky/hilarious/amusing.

however, having said all that, encouraging people to really have some perspective on life – in relation to their own problems – is fantastic and i’d prefer to see something like this used by the samaritans or public healthy agency, than google per se (considering you can already find funny random shit by checking out what people are watching on youtube already.)

Comment by lauren

OK – so the Google suggestion was wrong, but I still think the Samaritans idea is right, not for branding purposes per se, but because in these increasingly pressured times, more ‘balanced people’ are succumbing to bouts of depression [though I am not for an instant saying I was depressed in the medical sense, just in the grumpy-bastard sense which is probably quite common, or at least I hope it is] and whilst an injection of silliness may be able to pick them up relatively easily, getting them to associate the Samaritans with feeling relief/better is a good thing because a % of these people may go on to develop depression of a much more serious level and rather than keeping it within – which is the Asian way for a whole host of reasons – they may remember there is someone who can aid them in total confidentiality.

Look it could be wrong – but it has nothing to do with fart gags or kids biting their siblings or using humour to brand an otherwise faceless organisation – it’s about associating ‘feeling better and/or relief’ with an organisation that can help people should a temporary bout of moodiness develop into something much worse. And as I said, if anyone has seen the ads the Samaritans do at the moment, I feel at least this would have more visibility and effect.

Comment by Rob

You’re still grumpy, aren’t you?

Comment by John

i like him much more when hes like that

Comment by andy@cynic

i like the idea of bringing a bit of laughter into people s lives. isn t that what clowns do in hospitals for children and people suffering from dementia. i ve read that those programs work well… often, when you are ill or sick you are not in a hospital, you are at home. and you feel bad…
i ve experienced that you go to a doctor (germany and uk), have a chat for a couple of minutes… well, they ask you questions, give you a prescription, and there you go. get well soon… anyway, i cannot remember when i have not read up about an illness or medicine online… and at least in germany, it is forbidden for pharmaceutical companies to advertise for medicine that is only available on prescription. as the market is heavily regulated, companies are having a hard time to influence profits and often focus b-2-c activities on advertising over-the-counter products like tea, or medicine available without prescription like aspirin… i like the youtube channel idea for health brands, rob. it could play a great part in online activities…

i think the depression issue is neither accepted in western societies nor in asian ones. i guess it s about fear and shame. maybe for different reasons. in the west it might be more about selling yourself. if you are not feeling happy, there must be something wrong. and you are afraid that you are no longer seen as being able to be as successful and perfect as the ideal world demands you to be… i think in asia it s maybe more a matter of politeness. don t be extreme. don t bother people with (negative) emotions… it s like not unwrapping a present when you receive it, because your reaction when seeing it could offend the one who gave it to you… that s quite a long comment. no offense : )

Comment by peggy

My husband sometimes wakes at night with what he calls the ‘litany of bad thoughts.’ Lately he’s found a sure fire way to get back to sleep: laughing babies on YouTube. Charlie would probably be on his list. I have nothing to say about what that means for branding. But I like that with the internet everyone has access to their own little list of things that can make them happy right away. Like the tape in the movie Amelie with the horse that breaks free and joins the race. Mine would include the ‘happy ending’ lyrics from Puff the Magic Dragon.

Comment by Emily

Hello Emily, how the hell are you?

I take it you don’t subscribe to the supposed drug inflluence of that song – or maybe that’s why it does make you happy 🙂

Comment by Rob

Not exactly related to your post, but I spent quite a bit of time checking out the videos on this list. Some of these videos are so pointless, but they still make me laugh (re: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1Y73sPHKxw)

http://youshouldhaveseenthis.com/

Comment by Nabilah




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