Humor isn’t easy.
I have just reached this conclusion as I blankly stare at the unforgiving blinking of my HP computer cursor. How can I best introduce the new Harbus Humor section?
That damn cursor mocks me. Dude, I should have asked for a Dell. It wouldn’t have changed the cursor taunting much, but at least I might have stared at the Dell logo long enough to have written something amusing about supply chain strategy. Maybe not something knee-slap funny, or guffaw funny, but maybe a make-your-TOM-professor-smirk kind of funny.
Instead, I’ll have to settle for squeezing some mileage out of thepot-smoking pitchman from the Dell commercials, who tops my list of “Television Personalities Most Deserving of a Swift Kick in the Groin,” along with 6-grams-of-fat Jared from the Subway commercials and Carson Daly.
Freaking cursor. I digress.
The real dilemma is about setting the right tone for the Humor section. As we all know, a proper marketing analysis tells us this requires defining the target market and drafting the positioning statement.
Target Market: All HBS students and alumni
Positioning Statement: Be funny and entertaining.
I really learned a lot in Marketing.
Nevertheless, this is the business plan. We’re entering a mature market in humor (face it, there hasn’t been much new in the world of humor since Edison ushered in the lightbulb joke era a century ago), but we will be competitive. Think of us as Chris Farley and Oscar Wilde and Eddie Murphy and Neil Simon and the Three Stooges and Woody Allen all rolled into one. (Go ahead, take a moment.) We have what we think is a hit product on our hands. We control the marketing channels. If all else fails, we’ll advertise and promote the hell out of it, and you’ll end up thinking it’s the best product out there anyway.
Just remember: it isn’t easy.