From defecating unicorns to British ladies on toilet seats, the Harmon Brothers Ad Agency is responsible for 1.5 billion Facebook video views and over $350 million in sales.
They’ve created famous ad campaigns for Squatty Potty, Poo-Pouri, and Purple Mattress, to name a few. Advertisers would do anything to nab a Harmon Brothers partnership.
Just look at the YouTube comments on their commercials: “I need this!” “This commercial is gold!” “Take my money!” How do you get customers to fall THIS in love with your ad campaign? We asked the co-founder of the Harmon Brothers Ad Agency himself, Dan Harmon.
The Harmon Brothers’ Winning Combo
According to Daniel, the Harmon Brothers' success comes down to marrying two concepts: Traditional Branding and Direct Marketing.
A compelling story provokes an emotional response. Brands like Nike, Apple, and Red Bull are designed with emotion in mind. They identify with an audience to produce relatable narratives. The Harmon Brothers often use comedy to relate to customers. Even if consumers don’t buy the product, they remember the ad for how it made them feel.
Once you’ve made a connection, it’s important to steer your audience in the right direction. Classic TV infomercials are well-known for their straightforward sales principles. However, there’s a fine line between guiding your consumer and bombarding them with instructions. To see how the Harmon Brothers think, let’s see how they pitched their most successful ad campaign: The Squatty Potty.
Pitching Squatty Potty’s Ad Campaign
After success with Poo-Pouri, the Harmon Brothers were approached by the makers of Squatty Potty, the bathroom product designed to ease bowel movements. They liked how frank the Harmon Brothers were in handling taboo subjects.
The pitch: A magic unicorn who poops out ice cream. Ice cream was like poop, just not as gross. Who poops ice cream? A unicorn, of course! Instead of poop-like colors and textures, they’d incorporate a rainbow of hues. Throw in some glitter, a charming prince to narrate, and a call to action – BOOM. You’ve got a winning ad campaign! The investors weren’t buying it.
At first, they decided to move forward with a different agency. Squatty Potty’s demographic at the time was older women dealing with irritable bowel syndrome and constipation - not exactly the audience you’d associate with pooping unicorns. However, after months of failed marketing campaigns, they decided to give The Harmon Brothers another chance. The rest was history.
9 Facebook Video Ad Tips from Dan Harmon
We asked Dan for advice on script writing, online marketing, and production for video ad campaigns in today’s market. Here’s what he said:
1. Find a Relatable Problem
This should be simple. What’s your consumer’s problem and how do you plan to solve it?
2. Create Visual Interest
Is your product interesting to look at? Use it! Don’t waste time your consumer’s time if the product explains itself.
Tip: Try this exercise for your next script. Go line-by-line and find a way to visually represent each sentence. You can write down or draw out these ideas to create a visual guide!
3. Use a Strong Call to Action
Your customers know you’re selling them something. So, sell it! Once you’ve made your point, give your customers a direct path toward purchasing.
4. Make Connections: Comedy vs. Emotion
Comedy can connect with your audience quickly and effectively. But in advertising, humor is a risky business. The Harmon Brothers use jokes sparingly to keep viewers focused on the product. Other emotions you can tap into: Sentimentality, Nostalgia, Desire, Identity, Loyalty, etc.
5. Utilize Test Groups
It’s better to test out an idea on a group of 10 than a group of 10 million. If an ad is too outrageous, too wordy, or falls into a bad pattern, your test group will be able to point it out immediately.
6. Plan Your Distribution
You should know how much money you plan to spend – and on which platforms. To get your ads seen, you need to invest in distribution.
7. Consider Mobile Formatting
These days, 80% of consumers view ads on their mobile device. When shooting your video, stay away from widescreen shots and stick to a square format.
8. Make Powerful Thumbnails
The right thumbnail can increase your click-rate by 400%! For video screen-grabs, try highlighting only the most important information. You can use photo editing tools to make certain objects bigger, blur out unnecessary elements, or add text.
Tip: Hire a graphic designer!
9. No Budget? Use Your Phone!
There’s an entire production company right your pocket. Your phone has a camera, editing software, targeted publishing – all rolled into one. The best part? It’s all FREE!
Tip: If we ARE talking production value, the best way to increase your video quality is with proper lighting. Using a lamp or flashlight on your subject can make all the difference!