Funnier Than Funny, But Does It Sell?

Funnier Than Funny, But Does It Sell?

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image of Stanley Steamer commercial with alpaca

This makes me laugh!

I have been intrigued with “Have you ever cleaned an alpaca?” a commercial from Stanley Steamer. The two cleaning guys are in the truck and one is explaining how exciting it is to clean up after an Alpaca. It is cute, funny and definitely different. I went to Youtube to  view the video and look at the comments. The comments are interesting, what they say is ,  “I want and Alpaca, they’re so cute.” So much for Stanley Steamer, the cleaning company  being cute.

It would be interesting for the franchise people to ask their customers how they came into the store. Was it a friend’s recommendation or a past experience with the company.  They may have seen the commercial but  seeing the commercial might not be connected to their coming into the store. How many commercials have you seen, and liked, but didn’t drive you to the store or buy the product?

Maybe it would have been more relevant if they went to the local Humane Society and put their products in the animal cages or used their product to clean the cages. It would mean something to me and thousands of pet owners. As my friend Godzilla said, if you have an Alpaca in your house you have more problems than most of us that won’t be solved by either cleaning or special carpet.  It would have hit home and many of us would have gone to the shelter to adopt some pets. This is another important connection to the customer.

Another commercial similar to this was when Mohawk Carpet went to the Birmingham Zoo and featured Ricko the Black Rhinoceros as the featured mess maker to see if SmartStrand carpet with built-in stain resistance would do its job. Included in this was a Save the Rhino pairing with the Birmingham Zoo. This can be watched at

I love the Geico commercials and the latest being the “little Piggy cried all the way home.” The parody at Saturday Night Live,  are even funnier.

Remember “where’s the beef?” Did it change your mind about Burger King.

Both are darling commercials, bringing in the customer  through their love of animals as well as their carpet and carpet cleaning concerns.  Differentiation is what businesses need to build a competitive advantage but not all differentiation is considered a competitive advantage. When you have a competitive advantage it’s easy to build Red Hot Customer Service.

How do you know? You may not but you should try by asking your customers.

Ask customers about your commercial, in their mind how does it connect with their problems?  Most customers probably don’t have Rhinoceros or Alpaca stains. Does the customer get the part that both of these products will solve their most difficult problems? Does the customer think they have stains as awesome as the Alpaca? Do they think this is over kill? Do they think they need a product that will prevent staining like Ricko or do they find all of these stains disgusting?

There is a commercial for Schweppes that was a take off on the old James Bond movies. this commercial starred John Cleese. It was slapstick funny, didn’t seem to fit with Schweppes and wound up on the cutting floor. Maybe too funny or just too stupid. Frankly I didn’t really get it but love John Cleese.

Fun will sell if you use it to lighten up your customer and still use it to  reinforce your important message and  the promise to your customer.

It should be funny but not too funny so the customer forgets what you’re selling–and so do you.

Funny is a way to produce emotion in your customer and emotion is one way to build rapport. Humor is a grand way to build a connection with your customer but if it’s  so funny that you can’t connect it with your product or don’t  connect it’s a problem.

Suggestion: use humor it to add a light moment for your customer rather than an out-of-this-world funny. Save the funny for the comedians.

The key to funny, the commercial should make the product unforgettable and make the customer want to buy it.

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About the Author:

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning trainer, entrepreneur, and blogger and has spent over twenty years developing custom tailored marketing and customer service programs for businesses. Her recently published book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 Sizzling Ways to Heat up Your Business and Ignite Your Sales defines the steps necessary to build a competitive advantage and turn great companies into unforgettable or red hot companies. Lisbeth admits that much of her knowledge came from her Italian grandfather who despite very little formal education and a limited English vocabulary, managed to became both successful and wealthy. Lisbeth has wonderful stories about Grandpa DiBiagio’s and her time spent learning how to managing Grandpa’s fruit stand. Because of Lisbeth’s experience as a business owner, having been the managing partner and owner of 7 furniture and carpet stores for 14 years, she is able to bring her extensive business knowledge and experience to all of her clients. Lisbeth’s awards include executive of the year award from the International Executive Association, Albany chapter (a business networking group) and first place honors in an international marketing contest for alternative medicine. A two time cancer survivor, she has spoken extensively about her experiences of cancer, offering words of comfort and inspiration. As an activist, Lisbeth has initiated and contributed to many charitable causes. She has worked with at-risk youth, spoken out against injustice and advocated to and helped to build resources for women. As a presenter, Lisbeth Calandrino is highly motivational, information-rich, and very entertaining. Her acute business sense, contagious enthusiasm, positive energy and fun sense of humor make her a dynamic presenter. Lisbeth is a member of New York, Historic Albany Foundation, educational director of Business Referrals Networking Group and member of the board of directors of the Animal Protective Foundation of Scotia, New York.


  1. Nick Stamoulis October 6, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Well these funnies certainly do add to brand awareness, now people will associate the Alpaca with Stanley Steamer, much as Geico and the lizard, but does it sell is right, what I think it does is that it keeps the brand fresh in your mind, so that when you are in the market for a cleaning or insurance, you would turn to the brands you remember.

  2. carpetcleaning October 22, 2010 at 6:31 am


    I have seen your site. Thanks for giving a some important & helpful information. It’s really helpful for me & other people.

  3. Lisbeth Calandrino October 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Anything you can do to keep your brand fresh is important. Consider the salesperson who asks the customer, did you see our ad? the cusotmer replies yes and the salesman (most likely believes it’s because of the commercial) but is it so? The problem is that the two might not be related. I can love your commercial, thank you’re funny but I still moght go somewhere else to make the purchase. Don’t know how you get past this but it would be interesting to do a survey of “lost” customers, one who decided to shop elsewhere and see what they think of the commercial. This is one of the things that I do and recommend to my cusotmers; check out what the “defectors” think and then review. Believe me, I love the commercial and go to my own blog and replay for fun!

  4. student grants November 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

  5. Web Agent December 16, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    As long as the message of the commercial is not lost I think it’s ok to inject some funny scenes. What’s important is that the consumers can actually understand and be able to catch the main point or what exactly the product is implying to the audience. Will it sell? One may know after the commercial’s release. haha..

  6. Medical Billing December 31, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

  7. Lisbeth Calandrino December 31, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Happy New Year.

  8. Lisbeth Calandrino January 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Don’t get me wrong; I love funny, the funnier the better. Funny can be remembered–does it add credibility, does it create value? I don’t know the answers but I think the questions are good. Thanks for taking the time. By the way, I have watched that commercial many times for a good laugh.

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