“What the f was the deal with Gary?”
6 emails, 6 goals, one amazing man.
This is the case study of what we—and the press—are calling The Gary Experiment. We wanted to break down our strangest and most favorite email series to date, 1. Because people keep asking, and 2. Because we’ll take any excuse to talk about Gary again. Here’s why we did it, why it worked, and why we’d do it again:
The two most common responses we got to these emails was either, “Ummm I LOVE Gary,” or “I am confused at what’s going on but I’m laughing.” The reason BOTH of these responses are great is that it meant people were reading the emails.
Correction: they were reading them AND thinking about them AND being entertained by them.
Addition to that correction: they went beyond absorbing the content and were motivated enough by it to reach out to us. That’s pretty much a marketer’s wet dream. In fact, this series had the highest open rate AND the highest number of replies of any that we had done before. It was hysterical.
Promotional emails, in general, are fickle pickles. They usually come off too thirsty or smarmy; thinly veiled “asks.” We decided that we would take the announcements and offerings we wanted to share, and weave them into a narrative—a weird, playful one about a rookie private eye who was hired by our competitors to spy on us and find out what we were up to and why we were stealing business. NORMAL, RIGHT? LOL.
So each email, we’d have Gary “discover” the thing we wanted to update you all about—mixed in with some general Gary reveals and ramblings.
All we knew for sure was that for our brand, this way of sharing info felt right; it felt weird and good and unexpected and ridiculous. It also proved yet again that humor is not a side effect of good strategy, it’s a killer strategy itself.
DON’T MAKE US SAY FUN SELLS AGAIN.
Speaking of fun, over the last several months we’ve been honing in on our formula for how we help businesses become Humor Brands. Along with the dark arts and evil genius behind the process, we have created core Humor Archetypes that are each a pillar of a specific tone of humor—including the way that tone resonates with a certain type of audience as well as the unique way it communicates and converts. Think: personality test but for businesses. So they can know exactly how their brand speaks, engages, jokes, motivates, comforts, and sells.
The point of that is that we also got to test that out with Gary’s character and voice by assigning him a Humor Archetype and using that to steer his “brand.” Because of this, ourteam got so entrenched in the Gary Brand that we could all identify very quickly what he would or wouldn't do, say, eat, think, believe. And THIS is the power of humor as a conduit of brand consistency.
The moral of the story is we would never want to write boring emails that you’re bored of reading. So we shook it up, birthed a beautiful, 52 year old man named Gary—and whaddyaknow, it worked.
Over and out,Allie and Lynds