The task of the NZ International Comedy Festival campaign is simple: get bums on seats. Our job is not to be funny, we'll leave that up to the comedians, they're the experts.
We just need to get people's attention, evoke an exciting environment, a fun, energetic festival with a hub that is the only place to be through late April and early May.
Our extensive cross-media campaign including street posters, adshels, billboards, TVCs, web, street decals, and programmes for both Auckland and Wellington totalling over 100 pages of content. The primary awareness campaign creates an umbrella brand, but we also need to create the look for a dozen additional curated shows, as well as managing the communication for individual shows of over 150 comedians. It's a massive undertaking in information management of supplied content alone.
The campaign for the last 3 years featured black and white photography of laughing audience members, overlaid with black, white and yellow brand elements. As this was our third year working with the NZ Comedy Trust, we decided it was time for a reinvention, and we wanted to test our brand awareness by using a minimalist approach and letting the logo, existing brand colours do all the heavy lifting, with the help of some beautiful typography. Stand-up Comedy is intrinsically minimalist – just a performer on stage with a microphone, so our approach was equally stripped back.
Comedy is vital and energetic, it's spontaneous and loose, and above all, authentic. In evoking a comedic feel through our typographic treatments of the phrase 'Laughing Matters' authenticity was our guiding principal. Hand-drawing the text was essential, the more rough edges and imperfections the better. No structured artifice, just honesty. We wanted each treatment to ooze personality, each with a unique and charismatic voice, like the comedians themselves.
One of the challenges is to create a fun environment, a 'comedy precinct' that encourages people to feel like they are in the thick of things. We used way-finding ground decals and hand-painted window art to grab attention during the day, and help audiences orient themselves once festivities start, allowing for easy navigation around half a dozen or more central city venues.
The Festival features some of the funniest comedic voices from here and around the globe, and they’ve inspired us to create a simple, fun campaign, crafted with pure joy – because at the end of the day, Laughing Matters.