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How to use creative wordplay and wit as weapons

November 9, 2012

You can learn valuable lessons from the US election – about the power of simple parody and wordplay to hook attention, get your message shared and to attack competitors.

In US elections, the stakes are so high that both sides use every persuasion method possible including humour, wit and wordplay.

There are very clever wordsmiths on both sides coming up with witty messages and counter-blows to their opponent’s messages.

First, here are two  examples of  using humour, wit and wordplay to hook attention. To capitalise on  Obama’s YES WE CAN slogan – there were lots of spin-offs like the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream YES PECAN!  and special Obama mints – called YES WE CAN-DY.

My boss who would tease me for being such a fan of Obama’s communication techniques brought me back some YES WE CANDY from the US.

I thought it was very witty when the Yes We Candy idea was hijacked and re-worked – making a statement that attacked Obama’s post-election performance –  DISAPPOINT-MINTS.

I’m not sure if this was a politically motivated creation or  purely commercial opportunism – but you can imagine the “statement” people would make when offering others a disappoint mint.

Obama’s iconic HOPE poster was also a target for some witty re-workings  and parody – by both sides.

Simple but clever re-workings such as DOPE  (two meanings there!) and GROPE for Bill Clinton (former US president,  fellow Democrat and a powerful Obama supporter – after Obama beat Hillary for the nomination)

When Obama won the 2012 election this week lots of my Obama-supporting friends in the US were quick to share on social media a parody of Mitt Romney with the word NOPE.

This sort of simple parody is easily shared on social media – and inside the humour – barbed attacks – like little razor blades inside candy floss – or should that be YES WE Can-dy floss?

Maybe Democrats supporters will get the last laugh with a new type of  candy  – Disappoint MITTs


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