Medina, Ohio 1:38 EST: I’m writing this as I wait for my interview with Mark Anderson, creator of Andertoons, in the next 30 minutes or so.
I’ve only known Mark from Twitter (@andertoons) and from his web site. My most recent introduction into his background was from Anita and Steve’s interview on Small Business Trends Radio where I learned that being a cartoonist was really a byproduct of living and working in the real world. Where he’s currently doing the most important jobs of all, being a stay-at-home-dad … and making the rest of us laugh.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I have to admit that I’m at a bit of a loss for words because I’ve never written a review of a book of cartoons before. I’m thinking that getting some insight by chatting with Mark just might do the trick.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression here. Having a conversation with Mark Anderson is by no means necessary to enjoy Mark’s book, Rub My Tummy and It’s a Deal. In fact, you can enjoy this book like you enjoy your favorite snack, one bite (or cartoon) at a time. That’s how I did it.
The book showed up in the mail, I opened it, and in a matter of seconds, had to sit myself down because I was laughing – actually it was more of an umphing — a slightly raspberry-sounding snicker — because the drawings completely resonated with so many of my experiences in the corporate and small business worlds. Then, after a few days, I decided to sit down over coffee and go through the book cover to cover.
My experience reading the book brought up a lot of memories that I had from my own corporate career. They made me reflect on what I had learned and even a bit on what I might have done differently.
I’ve dog-eared some of my favorite cartoons (I’m thinking maybe Mark will customize one for me. It’s the one where the CEO is at his desk on the phone saying “Sara, have sales do that thing where profits go up.”) That cartoon is a summary of my entire corporate career — except instead of Sara, they would say “Ivana.” This is actually the first drawing that Mark sold to Harvard Business Review. I’m not surprised they loved that one.
Mark has a sharp wit and an intuitive insight into the characters that we’ve all played in the process of doing business. Like many of us, Mark spent the bulk of his career in the trenches and most of his humor pokes fun at “management.” He told me about a time when the cartoon editor of Harvard Business Review reminded him that most of their audience were, in fact, upper management, and that he might want to involve them a little more and make fun of them a little less.
One of the questions I had for Mark was about how we are supposed to use this book — without stealing any of the images (you all know who you are). And this is where he said something that really got my interest. He said that this book is a promotional piece because when people see a cartoon, they can’t help but stop and read it.
Now that’s something that we marketers like to see. Anything that makes a potential customer stop what they are doing and take the time to read what we have to say has our immediate attention.
So what are some creative ways we can use some of these Andertoons?
- Business Cards: I’m going to buy some Andertoons to put on my business cards. I’m thinking that it’s a great way to get people to keep them and really get a feel for the experience I provide. In fact, I’m thinking of commissioning him to create some with fill-in-the-blank copy for people to interact with. You can get them in color or black and white!
- Presentations: Mark says that cartoons are excellent for presentations because they say so many things that we may not be able to say (translation: have the guts to say). Cartoons lend an element of emotion that really grabs the audience.
- T-Shirts: Yeah, I’m thinking about how much fun it would be to put some of the cartoons from my business cards on t-shirts and promotional items.
- Your Lobby: Good Housekeeping and The Conference Board have actually bought the original cartoons that Mark drew that mentioned their company names. You can do the same thing. How about having a “best customer moment” cartooned for your lobby? (See Good Housekeeping cartoon and The Conference Board cartoon.)
- Customer Gifts: Why would you send nuts or popcorn, when you can create some customized cartoons that feature your best customers — and your company name. This will be something that they will feature in their offices and be free advertising for you — can’t beat that!
And I got all that from reading a book of cartoons!
Get the book — it’s fun and you’re bound to think of some ways you could incorporate cartoons into your marketing mix.
In what ways can YOU think of to use cartoons?