Here’s a great tool for making brilliantly funny commercials: Create characters with blind spots!
The blind spots we reveal by what we say and how we behave are rich raw material for creating funny, even poignant, commercials. A character’s blind spot both informs their behavior and makes it difficult — and sometimes impossible — for them to see what others around them can. By their very nature, blind spots create dramatic conflict, dramatic conflict makes great stories, and stories, regardless of how simple, are what people remember and share. For commercials, this dramatic conflict can revolve around a problem that a product or service solves, or around what separates it from its competition.
A person with unbridled optimism is an undeniable force of nature regardless of how misguided or seemingly unreachable their goal may be.
In fact, the more misguided or seemingly unreachable their goal, the more potential for comedic conflict. When people around them point out the futility of an Unbridled Optimist’s efforts, it only encourages them to redouble their efforts. In this cartoon the actor’s optimism is so self-blinding that he’s not aware that he already knows the outcome. We empathize with him, because he’s unknowingly shared his future disappointment with us. This makes his enthusiasm almost poetic.
We love characters who exhibit this kind of optimism– Kimmy Schmidt in ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ and Leslie Knope in ‘Parks and Recs’ are two wonderful examples. Far from being deterred in the face of ever-growing obstacles, they’re in fact energized by them. We laugh with them, not at them. And because this blind spot is usually charming, we root for them.
Because failure is not an option for Unbridled Optimists, characters who are supremely optimistic create commercials, video stories, and live experiences that have lots of comedic energy.
If you want a great comedic foil, just add their doppelganger — the eternal pessimist.
In this charming spot for IKEA, we don’t understand why our hero is carrying around a stool at first. But after a while we begin to have an inkling.
She’s been to a lot of weddings. This time she’s determined to catch the bouquet.
Her optimism and ingenuity pay off and, in the end, the spot rewards her with a fellow soul who’s been driven by the same can’t-stop-me spirit.