Skip to content

Waylaid In A Manger: Humor, Utility & Advertising

December 10, 2020

Group sitting at conference table Acme Nativity Set Company lawyer representing ox ass says My clients think they deserve royalty for every set soldblank vertical space, 24 pixels highWhy the greedy no-good-niks–!!blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

And you know they’re just gonna go out and spend it on hay…blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

A little Christmas humor– and it inspired a few thoughts:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

Humor springs from the unexpected. It’s mostly looking at something familiar from a different angle.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You need to take the same approach to blogging, marketing, and copywriting– to creating any kind of content. Because it’s all been said, really.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You have to find a different way to say it.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

It helps to think funny. Be weird, make jokes. Toss out ideas that would never work. You’ll be surprised how doing so will trigger new thoughts and ideas.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

You’re probably reading this because you laughed at the cartoon. It put you in a good mood. You decided to keep reading.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Humor does that. It helps people relax. They lower their shields and give you a chance.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I came across the following quote recently. It’s from Martin Boase, who founded a famous London ad agency. It refers to television advertising, but I think it’s true for all advertising, and all content marketing:blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

If you’re going to invite yourself into someone’s living room for 30 seconds, you have a duty not to bore them or insult them by shouting at them.

On the other hand, if you can make them smile, or show them something interesting or enjoyable – if you’re a charming guest – then they might like you a bit better, and then they may be a little more likely to buy your product. blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

So add some humor to your content. Humor opens up a channel called shared humanity. It’s about putting people at ease and making them feel welcome.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

The above cartoon also triggered a funny memory:blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I once worked as a bank teller for about six months. An older guy came in one day to cash a check. There was a reference to the Screen Actors Guild on it.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

I asked him if he was an actor. He told me he’d been an extra on the old Phil Silvers Show (“Sergeant Bilko”) which ran from 1955-59. He was still getting an occasional royalty check because of syndicated reruns of the show.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

So like the ox and ass, we all have roles to play. The Nativity Story wouldn’t be the same without them.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

The cartoon also made me think of utility, meaning, “the expected return on an investment.” Freelancers like myself incorporate utility into our fees.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Have you ever wondered why some design agencies charge thousands of dollars for a logo? (OK, you might be able to buy a logo for $5 if you hire someone on Fiverr, but that’s not a serious investment.)blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Think about Nike’s famous “swoosh“– so simple!! Why should it be worth a lot of money?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Utility. Think about how much use it gets. It’s everywhere and instantly recognizable. You’re paying for something that will be used over and over again.blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

St. Francis invented the nativity set (creche). Think about how many have been sold over the years. Think of the utility.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Now you know why the ox and ass got a lawyer. 😊blank vertical space, 24 pixels high

I’ve had some fun with manger animals before. Here’s a little something to get you in the Christmas Spirit.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       * blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Jay Moye global editor-in-chief coca-cola company
blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

blank vertical space, 40 pixels high

10 Comments leave one →
  1. spookster01 permalink
    December 10, 2020 9:11 AM

    I wish my chickens could play like that! Happy Holidays Mark.


    • December 10, 2020 9:24 AM

      Ha! Yes– it’s not easy to play a trumpet with feathers! Thanks a heap, John– and a very Merry Christmas to you!! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 10, 2020 9:44 AM

    I appreciate the explanation of utility as value. But it certainly is hard to compete with $50 logos that are sometimes decent ‘enough’. Okay so don’t forget you might need more than on 55-cent stamp to send me my penny. Thanks


    • December 10, 2020 11:52 AM

      Hi, Alison! You mean you’d pass on a $5 logo and spring for $50?? Ya big spender! 😊 I understand the temptation to go with a cheaper alternative. I also understand that small businesses have limited marketing budgets. There’s also the just-get-it-done temptation (so I don’t have to think about it). Add in “you get what you pay for,” and everyone has to make their own decision.

      Always good to hear from you, thanks for your two cents– I’m gonna send you two pennies!! 😊


      • December 10, 2020 2:39 PM

        To be clear, I dont subscribe to that thinking, I really prefer and recommend unique quality, but I hear my clients pushing back with that often


        • December 10, 2020 3:46 PM

          Understood, and I appreciate the followup, thanks. I see the same thing myself in different forms. It’s why you see so many stock photos. They’re cheap or free, and they’re “good enough.” Yes, they are good enough– for filler. The problem is, everyone knows they’re filler, and they just scroll on by. Ah, well… (he said philosophically). 😊


  3. December 10, 2020 8:31 PM

    Hi Markie McGiggles! I loved this. I always get a bang for my buck when I visit. And I’m dying to know how much that royalty check was for!


    • December 11, 2020 9:48 AM

      Bang for your buck?? Most people just bang their heads when they come here– usually against a wall!! Dearest Linda!! How wunnaful to see you! Best surprise I’ve had since I opened my last box of Crackerjacks!! Hope you and yours are well, and in the Christmas Spirit. Sorry I’ve been a stranger– I promise to saddle up my reindeer and visit your blog soonest!!

      The actual royalty arrangement hasn’t been finalized yet, but the ox and ass say that if their demands aren’t met, they’re gonna leave a deposit in the conference room. Yow!!– they’re playin’ hard ball– or something!! Thanks for stopping by, ya done made my day!! 😘


  4. December 13, 2020 1:29 PM

    Merry Christmas, Mark! Lovely little video vignette.


    • December 13, 2020 4:46 PM

      Thanks, Jean!– and a very Merry Christmas to you! I’m trying to imagine you bringing home a Christmas tree on a bicycle… my imagination is failing me, but if anybody can do it, you can!! Lovely to see you, and I promise to stop by soon!! 😊


A penny for your thoughts. I'm on a tight budget here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: