Applying an inside pop culture joke in your brand marketing is one of the best ways to grab your audience’s attention by providing them with a double take. Learning from the masters of their mediums how to integrate in jokes can help you devise a strategy which will get your customers to stand up and take notice of your applications of this art. In jokes are a mainstay of mainstream TV & movies
There are literally countless examples of great inside jokes in all of the various pop culture mediums. In an episode of The Simpsons, Bart turns away from watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade due to its crass commercialism, and as soon as he does we see a huge inflatable balloon floating over the parade, and of course it’s Bart himself. Hot In Cleveland regularly drops hints as to the main actors’ previous incarnations in shows such as Frasier, Match Game, Mary Tyler Moore Show, and many others. Every single episode of Cougar Town has an intro with a line under the title lampooning the name of the show itself, such as “All I want for Christmas is a new title,” “We still cringe at the title,” “100% Cougar Free,” and “Yeah, it’s still called Cougar Town and we’re not happy about it either.” The in joke quotient reaches an almost infinite level with the inside references of Star Trek alumni have placed into their unrelated roles. Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the current movies, even managed to integrate a typically Vulcan pushed up eyebrow in an episode of Heroes where he plays the evil killer Sylar.
Check animated movies for the omnipresent A113
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone brought the art of the inside joke to new heights with many of their movies referencing each other. However, not all inside jokes are actor-driven, as there are many other inside joke vectors. Some of Hollywood’s most famous animators are graduates of the CalArts program, and many of the classes are held in classroom A113. Look carefully at Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Wall-E, Up, Ratatouille, Brave, Monsters University and many more animated movies and you’ll see at least one label on something emblazoned with A113.
Video games feature a wealth of inside joke Easter Eggs
Inside jokes are a mainstay of video game Easter Eggs, the hidden messages which can be unlocked by executing a specific action during gameplay and many of them are based on pop culture references. In Dead Island you can find Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th among the zombies and in NBA Jam you can find Will Smith, Hillary Clinton and many others. Just the Easter Eggs which center on George Lucas’ movies alone can fill a textbook. Fallout: Las Vegas has the fridge where Indiana Jones survived a nuclear explosion, complete with the famous Indy hat, and even Lucas’ own video games parody his movies. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed features a wall with a character preserved in Carbonite but it’s not Han Solo but Jar-Jar Binks! Too bad Lucas didn’t kill off Binks before he ruined his movies with this racist and absurd character but that’s another story.
Strategically apply inside jokes to every aspect of your campaigns
After all, even very sober online marketers like JC Penney have included inside Star Wars jokes by listing Chewbacca Pink as a blouse color. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to Lucasfilm’s output since there is literally no end to what you can strategically drop hints about in your social media presences, websites, and even apps. Zappos lampooned the cat video phenomenon by having felines falling from the top of their home page, and Apple’s Siri informs you that the movie Inception made her fall asleep.
You should consider becoming an inside pop culture joke practitioner to entertain and engage your online customers. You can tell them that they can hide bodies on the second page of Google because nobody ever looks there, that a photographer weighs an Insta-gram, that email marketers don’t have trampolines because they fear the bounce rate…
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