Humor Returns to the Stage as the Antidote to Adversity
Being able to laugh at the absurdity of extreme situations is healing, empowering, and provides a strong bond among us. It’s no wonder that companies all around the world re-emerged in 2022 to embrace humor as a strategy to get through the pandemic and to communicate empathy, encouragement and cheerfulness to both internal and external audiences.
As humor returned to the stage in 2022, so did the trend towards corporate April Fools campaigns used by businesses and brands as a way to connect with those audiences most likely to drive their success.
April Fools Rankings & Awards
In the beginning, there was humor and there was laughter. And it was good. But then, work became suffocatingly serious. Until now.
Today, we stand at the precipice of a new era. Future-shaping business leaders are re-discovering the power of humor as a vital driver of organizational success.
The Stand-Up Strategist Top 23 Rankings and Awards recognize & celebrate the pivotal role of humor as a catalyst for future-shaping corporate strategy and high performing organizational culture.
We believe that in our VUCA world, every organization is either a future-shaper or left behind in the wake of those who are. The connection between corporate strategy and humor is clear: Like the navigation of a vehicle, smart strategies must guide an organization in the direction of ongoing relevance. The engine that propels the vehicle is innovation, and the engine’s fuel is creativity. One of the key elements and manifestations of creativity is humor.
Given this backdrop, we have noticed a significant and worldwide phenomenon: Each year, more and more organizations are embracing humor by commemorating April Fools’ Day, the annual celebration of laughter and childlike fun. These companies conceptualize and bring to life farcical campaigns on April 1st, signaling to all internal and external constituents that they, as an organization, have a sense of humor and appreciate levity.
The SUS Top 23 Rankings and Awards selects, ranks and applauds the most outstanding campaigns annually for such factors as sense of humor, quality of execution and the likely strategic impact on business and internal audiences.
Entertainment Value: How universally funny, original and clever is the underlying concept? To what extent does it make you laugh, ponder, and make you want to share it with others?
Quality of Execution: How well is the underlying concept presented, what is the level of execution, attention to detail and overall campaign quality?
Opportunistic Absurdity: To what extent does the underlying concept actually capture the seed of a new business idea or potential market offering?
Brand Relevance: To what extent is the underlying concept consistent with, and can help propel the brand essence and market positioning of the company behind it?
Cultural Impact: To what extent can the underlying concept serve to unify and align the staff of the company behind it around optimal strategy and culture?
Jamie is Professor of Strategic Management at Antwerp Management School, and Visiting Professor at INSEAD. Named a management guru in the Financial Times, and included on Business Strategy Review’s list of the world’s top 25 management thinkers, Jamie has been described as a ‘stand-up strategist’. He has given a recent TEDx talk on ‘Leading with Humor’, and has co-authored articles on the topic.
Gabor George Burt
Gabor is a leading business trans- formationist and creator of the Slingshot Framework, enabling organizations to overstep perceived limitations, reimagine market boundaries, and achieve sustained relevance. He is a front-line proponent of applying humor in corporate leadership and culture, has co-authored articles on the topic with Jamie Anderson, and has penned a soon-to-be-released collection of humorous anecdotes.
Art is a strategic marketer with over 25 years experience managing the marketing and advertising efforts for leading brands including Tonka Toys, VISA, AT&T and Beautyrest. From his start on Madison Avenue, and working with such ad agency icons as J Walter Thompson and BBDO, Art credits humor for the success of many campaigns, and its ability to transform brands and engage both internal and external audiences.
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