Why people want more humor and why music qualifies as medicine

On Jan. 26, 2023, Toronto artist Dylan Hennessy (Mobius Radio) re-evidenced the power of humor in music marketing in his short video Eminem Orders a Pizza… Kind of.

In the video, Hennessy (playing Eminem) hilariously raps a Pizza Pizza order over the phone but forgets to give his address (again), leaving two Pizza Pizza workers (also played by Hennessy) with the exasperated understanding, “He’ll call back.”

Produced by Hennessy to promote his Feb. 3, 2023, Eminem tribute show and hip-hop night at Toronto’s Bovine Sex Club, the video quickly shot across social. As evidence of just how far and fast it reached: Within two hours, a Pizza Pizza franchise in British Columbia sent Hennessy a free pizza with all the toppings named in the video, and Hennessy garnered so many positive comments that his video underscored why Sprout Social recently ran a full report evidencing how brands can earn substantial exposure by using humor because people have always enjoyed humor, and these days, people want more humor from brands.

Before we get to the numbers that support this statement, we’ll acknowledge something.

Many artists don’t think of themselves as brands, and we respect that. Also, humor may not align with your image/music. Yet if humor does align with your image (meaning brand), humor can work music-marketing wonders because people today want more humor from brands.

According to a June 2022 report by Oracle:

  • 90% of people prefer brands to be funny
  • 75% of people would follow a brand that’s funny on social media
  • 88% of people are looking for new experiences to make them smile

This isn’t to dissuade artists from doing straight-up performance videos, art videos, or other styles that people will always enjoy. Yet for further consideration, the Oracle report also notes that 45% of people have not felt true happiness for over two years, and 25% don’t know how or have forgotten what it means to feel truly happy.

As unsettling as the findings are, the reasons behind them aren’t mysterious.

As noted by best-selling author and podcaster Gretchen Rubin, “We’ve all been through some tough years,” meaning the pandemic hammering of fear, displacement, and disenfranchisement. Add inflation to that, recession predictions, unemployment, the Russian-Ukraine war, low trust levels across the globe, and a housing and rental market seemingly built for the Illuminati, and it’s easy to understand why so many people are unhappy.

Now, a humorous music video or promo certainly can’t remedy all the causes of world unhappiness. Yet people don’t need that from humorous music marketing. Oftentimes, just a few moments of stress-relieving laughter can leave someone feeling good for the whole day, and this reason is arguably the single biggest value to people from humorous music marketing. Laughter affords people a moment to throw off things that can make them feel trapped, and given Oracle’s findings, people want more moments. So, if you’re considering humorous music marketing, you can know that the effort amounts to solid public service.

If you’re not considering humorous music marketing because you want to remain focused on your music, know that you’re still offering people good medicine.

You likely know that, but just in case:

  • In an anxious world, research published by Johns Hopkins shows that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain.
  • Where people are unhappy and can feel alone, research published by Harvard Health shows that listening to music helps improve well-being and social connection.
  • Where global stress levels have reached record highs, research published by the American Psychological Association shows music therapy helps lower stress, decrease depression, and boost immune health.

Considering the pharmacopeia of drugs out there that promise the same, music (by its effects) has certainly earned the right to be called medicine. Or, as researchers at Stanford University have said, “Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication.”

In Summary

Whether you choose to incorporate humor into your music marketing, here’s to you and the soul medicine you provide to a world that needs it.

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