Charlie Hebdo, Cartoons and Advertising

Charlie Hebdo and The Power of Cartoons In Advertising & Social Media

charlieI have been watching CNN’s “Reliable Sources“, it is a thoughtful and smart TV news show that covers the media world. I highly recommend it. From CNN:

Now more than ever, the press is a part of every story it covers. And CNN’s “Reliable Sources” is one of television’s only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover.

As one would expect, the show’s been covering the Charlie Hebdo murders, ramifications for the worldwide press and how they are reporting the story in detail.

One of my biggest takeaways from the whole Charlie Hebdo story is how freakin powerful cartoons are. Which brings me to the point…

Why So Few Cartoons In Advertising and Social Media?

Cartoons grab attention.

Cartoons can be so powerful they’ve driven people to murder. OK, we are not looking for this level of passion in advertising. But, think about it. Why aren’t we using this storytelling energy more?

Cartoons are not boring look-alike advertising messages (see ‘be not boring’ below.)

Cartoons are visual and help cure some information overload issues.

Cartoons tell stories. I have 12 cartoons in my book on pitching. They make a strong visual point about what not to do if you WANT to fail in new business pitches.

Cartoons are visual content that have some staying power in a world that eats up content and spits it out a a rapidly growing rate.

Cartoons can be serialized to create campaigns.

Cartoons get shared.

Cartoons can run in print, social media and in video.

Cartoons fit on phones.

Our love of infographics is essentially a love of cartooning. A stretch? Maybe. But, I dig data-visualization vs. dull-data.

Use More Cartoons…

My good friend  Steve Klinetobe runs the Cartoon Agency. Here is how they describe themselves:

We help companies be NOT boring using the universal awesomeness of cartoon storytelling.

Technically, we’re a content marketing agency. That means we help our clients plan, develop and deliver smart, buzz boosting content for their blogs, social media, and other such things.

But! There is a difference (or as us marketers like to say, a differentiator).

We create cartoons. That’s right, big-eyed funnies that reach out and grab your audience by the heart.

If I were a Creative Director or social media strategist, I’d be thinking of using cartoons. Why aren’t more advertising, mobile and ‘content genrators’ doing this? Even Google’s algorithms like cartoons.

Moving on to advertising agency new business: Why not use cartoons to begin to sell your agency on your website, in your blogs or as something different in your outbound marketing? You will stand out from the other 10,000 agencies, you will tell your story in a delightful way and you could have some fun doing it.

don't be distinctive mistake copy jpegAm I just spewing? I put my money where my mouth is. The cartoon at the left is one of 12 from my book. Here is a post I did on the cartoons.

We all talk about making connections. I think that using  cartons can often work harder than just words.


Yes, you can buy your very own “The Levitan Pitch. Buy This Book. Win More Pitches” on Amazon.

You can also buy a poster of all 12 cartoons right here at Society6. I guarantee that if you put this poster up in your agency you will win more pitches.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.