Slapstick Brand Performance and Suitcase Dogs

Written by

Tom Ootes


February 19, 2018

It’s that time of the year. Rundle Street East End is closed, thousands of people flock to The Garden and Adelaide is once again the centre of the world. At least for us locals.

With our agency on Rundle, it’s hard not to get drawn into the excitement and as I walked home on Friday night, I made six stops in a hundred metres to say hello to people I hadn’t seen since Fringe last year, watched a man on a unicycle rejoice that he had selected a volunteer out of the crowd from his home town of Vancouver, and had to avoid being crushed by a couple rushing to get to a show.

This time of the year is my favourite. The weather is perfect, the city is alive and thousands of people are openly looking for new things. Fun things. Silly things. Different things. Things that stand out and can be the centre of discussions to come.

I managed to get tickets to a show on Saturday night. I had never heard of the show and can almost certainly guarantee I wouldn’t have gone if the tickets hadn’t come to me. But it was wonderful. It was creative, unique, interesting, bold and different.

The Kiwis tend to have a refreshingly different sense of humour, a little bit left of centre, which is at times awkward and brilliant. Strut and Fret Production House’s Different Party intrigued me from the moment I sat down. Think The Mighty Boosh meets The Office with inspiration from Lano and Woodley and Monty Python. I sat in awe with my friends as Trygve Wakenshaw and Barnie Duncan cleverly and warmly invited us into their world of silliness.

With suitcase dogs, Scotch Finger cigarettes, slapstick physical comedy and puns galore the audience just had fun. It wasn’t deep. It wasn’t political. It wasn’t self-deprecating or arrogant. It just allowed us to have fun and be silly. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t have liked this show. But this show wasn’t for them. And it wasn’t trying to be.

It’s a reflection of Branding philosophy. The Garden is full of brands. I’m not talking about the obvious ones; Coopers or Pimms Bars, the multitude of food offerings; or corporate sponsors littered around the place. The shows themselves are all brands competing for our attention and money.

Different Party is a perfect example of branding done right. The performers know what they have. They know what they want to do. They are unique and aren’t trying to be anything more than what they are. And they’re confident in their offering and are engaging.

They’re not for everyone, but no brand is. Apple and Nike aren’t for everyone. But everyone knows what they stand for.

So, the takeaway is that your brand shouldn’t try to be something for everyone. It shouldn’t even try to be everything for someone. Your brand should find a place in someone’s life. Stick to your identity. Celebrate your identity.

And don’t be afraid to have fun.