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Cartoons and Marketing

By Will Brown by eyeconomy.co.uk – 2018


Cartoons in marketing is not new.  In the last few years, people such as Tom Fishburne (of Marketoonist) and Hugh MacLeod (of Gaping Void) and have been in the forefront in this. But with the rise of content marketing, cartoons are even bigger. 

Why do cartoons work in marketing (/ content marketing)?

  • Stimulating. At just purely the level of visual stimulation and interest, images in general work, whether cartoons or non-cartoon images. 
  • Different. But the internet is swamped with images. Cartoons offer something different. 
  • Humour. Cartoons are humorous. Humour is effective
  • Story. Cartoons can help tell a story (or brand story) (and much easier to draw a story than photograph one)
  • Provoke. Cartoons, like images in general, can be effective in provoking ideas. (so not just about telling, but, also provoking). Images appeal to the right side of the brain, increasing creativity.
  • JuxtaposeRelated to story-telling and provoking ideas is the opportunity cartoons offer marketers to juxtapose content or ideas in one single image (with photos you have to use two different images, and they might not match, exactly, in form or style). 
  • Social Media. Cartoons enable the marketer to express ideas economically so that these ideas can be passed on easily to others via social media and other marketing channels. 
  • Fill-in-the-blanks. In Seth Godin’s interesting article Why Cartoons Work, he discusses how cartoons, although “one-directional” encourage dialogue because they invite the reader to “fill in the blanks”.




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  1. “But, above all, I like cartoons because of their economy to easily express an idea, that can, in turn, be passed on, easily, to others (social media / word of mouth, and so on).”

    Ultimately, that’s the ultimate strength of a cartoon.

    And, if you can imbue some humour and an element that makes people think “Man, can I relate to that!” then you’re not just cementing an idea, but you’re making a very personal connection with someone…

  2. Cartoons allow the irreverence of reality to peak through while positively or negatively endorsing a product or idea. Its strength lies in the ability to pull a viewer into the first person for empathy and mirth. I a single gesture, the reader both laughs with and at the communication message.

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