Reactvertising – a joke too far?

In the summer I had the misfortune of being on the receiving end to an angry comedian. Cowering in a dusty ballroom at one of Edinburgh Fringe’s Free Shows, a punt on a bearded Russell Brand lookalike backfired. His humour teetered dangerously between several audience outcomes – shock, outrage, heckling, walkout and, at times, laughter. The latter held the most risk – is it appropriate to laugh? Was that a joke or something more bitter? The comedian, perhaps sensing the discomfort in the room, uttered some wise words, which have conditioned my receptivity to comedy since. It went something like this –

Comedy, like any art, is subjective. People like and dislike different types of music like pop, rock and classical. Why is it then than comedy is classified as one? No comedian can make everyone laugh…

Sadly he then relapsed into another rant. Nevertheless, I agree with his argument – one person’s favourite one liners can be another’s trigger to grabbing the remote. This new spoof by advertising agency is a case in point (their previous viral success being Catvertising which I featured previously).

Reactvertising tackles the rising demand for advertising agencies to be “tactical”, “topical”, “trendsetting” and above all as close to “real time” as possible. These buzzwords and industry merits seem worthy of humour outside the confines of an agency – the video clearly appeals to people not working in the industry too. Nevertheless, I can’t help thinking that it also sails very close to the truth – in which case, am I laughing at myself too?


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