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Dave Olson, Published October 21 2013

Marketing expert: Laughter sells

If you go

What: American Advertising Federation of North Dakota luncheon, with lecture by Heather Bradley

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. today

Where: Doublewood Inn, 3333 13th Ave. S., Fargo

Cost: Admission is free for AAF-ND members; $45 for nonmembers; $15 for nonmember students.

FARGO – As a creative strategist, designer and content creator, Heather Bradley’s client list includes names such as Comedy Central, Seventeen and Staples.

She will share some of her creative insights today at a luncheon hosted by the American Advertising Federation of North Dakota at the Doublewood Inn.

Here’s a taste of what she plans to serve up:

Q: What have you learned in 15 years in the marketing industry?

A: One of the biggest lessons I have learned by seeing companies struggle with it time and time again is this: If you and your employees don’t know how your company’s brand is different/similar to the other brands in the market, then you will have an extremely hard time being successful.

It’s impossible to rally a cohesive team behind an enigma.

Another thing I have learned is that cats will become our evil overlords, taking over the Earth. They have already started with the Internet.

List some marketing do’s and don’ts?

Do be authentically authentic. There is nothing worse than a client asking for an authentic campaign, but not wanting to spend the time or resources to understand the reality of their audience.

Don’t think throwing a ton of money at a failing campaign will automatically save it. Don’t think you can do a successful campaign cheaply without a truly great idea.

Does a large company have to approach marketing differently than a small company?

One size fits all, assuming your company doesn’t mind looking like a hippo wearing a sock dress.

While every marketing campaign absolutely requires a great idea, not every great idea requires the same budget, resources or timeline. It’s not the size of the company that dictates the scale of your marketing campaign, it’s the idea.

What will be the main theme of your talk?

As the former creative director of The Cheezburger Network, a comedy meme website with an audience of 20 million, I will share my insight into what makes people laugh and how anyone can use principles of comedy to transform visual communication.

Besides giving talks, what else have you been involved with lately?

I have just signed an agreement with HOW Books (publisher of HOW magazine) to write a book on design and humor tentatively titled “Design Funny: Creative Advice for Irreverent Graphic Designers.” It will be published in 2015.

I am looking for contributors and featured designers and art directors. Interested people should contact me at heather@

heatherbradley.me or via my website, www.heatherbradley.me.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555