Agency Feature: Humour Me

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Humour Me

Who are we?

Humour Me is the country’s first Branded Entertainment company. We combine our skill sets of music, storytelling, filmmaking, animation and art to produce multi-format entertainment as a way for brands to engage and influence their audiences in a meaningful way in the digital age.

What's in the name?

Humour Me as a name can easily lead to the misconception that we’re a stand-up comedy brand or that we create ‘humour’ based content. The reason we call ourselves Humour Me is simple - “Humour me, humour us by just listening to us. There might just be a better method to engage and influence your audiences in a completely new way. You never know, we might just change the way you approach brand building in 2018”

What we do?

Humour Me never started with the intention to compete with the agency ecosystem. India has always been globally proud of three things - Bollywood, Cricket and our advertising. Over the years, advertising as an industry has globally and nationally suffered and become extremely transactional. Now, it is less about influencing culture as a whole through brand storytelling, and more about who can shout the loudest with more marketing dollars.

The truth is, advertising loses more client money than it makes. For every client rupee/dollar spent, the return on investment is less than half. It’s just a bad investment, if done conventionally - TV, Print, Radio etc. With the rise of mobile internet and the data revolution, the smartphone is the new television. We’ve known that the internet is the single biggest innovation to have impacted the human race since the history of civilisation, yet we behave in contradictory ways whilst communicating with people through our advertising.

In fact, the minute you say 'branded content' or ‘advertising' it already competes in a category which is bad content. We believe that branded content, if done right can compete for audiences’ attention with the best content in the world - Disney, Pixar, Netflix, HBO etc. And, that’s what we strive to do with our work every day.

We at Humour Me believe there is no replacement to great storytelling. You can pour a hundred cups of coffee but cream still floats. We create branded cinema, music, experiences, documentaries etc. that can compete with the best content in the world.

Why we do it?

Because we believe if Spielberg or Walt Disney ever created an adverting agency it would be the best agency in the world. And that’s what we’re trying to build here.

How we evolve?

The truth is, as much as the industry is evolving, the amount of great storytelling is still few and far. There is hardly any extraordinary work that comes out of our media industry that can compete for global attention. When I look at branded content, I’m excited by the opportunities and possibilities.

I believe that Indian creativity when tapped into, has the ability to supply 20 years of global imagination. The fun has just begun for me! Our vision is to create box office hits and compete with Sacred Games for attention, and potentially even win an Oscar for branded content. Sure, it sounds audacious and crazy now, but give it some time and it will be the new norm. Our dream is to create a feature film for a Fortune 500 brand and have it compete at the box office with the best in class.

Social responsibility in social media

Great stories and protagonists have a way of moving audiences forward. When we watch a powerful protagonist we try to emulate them! This is the power of media when done right. I believe there is a trend in content creation which is focused on creating louder, bolder, more explicit and edgy content. We believe the minute you’re speaking to a wide variety of audiences, it is our responsibility as creators to positively influence and inspire them. We call it emotional leadership at Humour Me – the ability to move audiences positively and inspire them with the greatest characters/stories.

Also Read: Agency Feature: BrandLoom

Need of the hour

I will not comment on Social Networking laws. I think all the smart platforms are evolving each day and making pivots to stay relevant to audience needs. Having said that, as an industry I do believe that we need to focus on collaboration, collaboration and collaboration. We all need to stop conquering our own little forts and explore new models for added benefit. Also, optimism! The world doesn’t need more critics and cynics; we need dreamers and doers.

We learned the hard way

Innovation by definition is inefficient. We love to experiment and fail. We’ve had colossal failures and have celebrated them! Till this day we encourage people at Humour Me to fail, learn, pivot and scale those failures into possibilities.

Not many people know this but we created the first original English musical at scale - ‘7 days to Wonderland’ - way before Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ etc. In the short term it was a huge set-back monetarily, but in the long run it gave us the audacity to dream in 70mm and the return has been far far greater.

Did we just share that?

4 years back most clients laughed us out of the room when we said brands will need to start communicating with their audiences like big entertainment companies. Let’s just say it feels good to be on the right side of history!

They work with us

Paper Boat, Xiaomi, Arctic Fox backpacks, 1mg, Vahdam Teas, Vedanta, SpiceJet, Adidas, Intex, Airtel, Reliance, Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Britannia, Nearbuy, Fratelli, etc.

Industry as we foresee

In my opinion, there is no thing such as Social Media. It is just the current state of the internet. Social media is just the new media and how we as humans culture build and interact today. Having said that, I’m hugely bullish and optimistic about voice and audio. We at Humour Me are doubling down on this as we believe creative audio content is going to be huge!

A day without Internet

We’ve already experienced a day an age without the internet, so why focus on what was? I’m the eternal optimist. I believe the internet is our current reality and I believe we haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to human innovation and what we’re capable of. I think human beings as a whole need a lot more credit and a serious re-brand. We give ourselves a lot less credit than we deserve. Just look at the history of the human race and what we’ve accomplished. Everything in old science fiction is now a reality. I’m extremely excited for what some of our generation will get to experience in our lifetime. The past is dead, let the soothsayers focus on the future - I’m all about the now and its endless possibilities.

Lastly, are you hiring?

Yes we are! We’re looking for the best creative talent in the world to come work with us. We’re not looking for typical advertising creatives. We want the people who have chops to work and create content for the best producers in the word to come create for us and forget that they’re expressing on the behalf of brands/companies. Unshackle yourselves from the narrow lens of communication and the way it is perceived by the industry today. Just dive into the future!

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