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Making Fun of Yourself and the #UnfinishedBusiness of Marketing

March 5, 2015

UnfinishedBusinessHumour can be a great way to promote your business, especially if you are brave enough to poke fun at yourself and your industry.

A great example is this week’s very clever marketing campaign – a combined effort from Getty Images’ iStock online stock photo business and Twentieth Century Fox, promoting its new movie ‘Unfinished Business‘. An email was sent out to iStock members this week offering a set of free stock images (we got the email here at Explore):

In case you didn’t get the memo, you’ve got the green light to download your free #UnfinishedBusiness stock images.

Yes, they are a set of those really clichéd corporate images that come up time and time again when you go searching for that perfect photo to illustrate ‘teamwork’, ‘productivity’, or some other business concept or value you are trying to portray. The only difference is that these photos feature Vince Vaughan and the rest of the cast of a big Hollywood comedy.

While it’s clever, it works more in favour of Fox than iStock. ‘Unfinished Business’ looks like it’s poking fun at the world of business clichés and business-speak – so corporate stock photos are a perfect butt for the movie’s jokes. Still, it’s a great piece of exposure for iStock, and will probably attract a whole new bunch of members.

However, the most effective ‘making fun of yourself’ marketing effort recently has to be ‘This is a Generic Brand Video‘ from last year, inspired by a parody piece from Kendra East in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. In marketing, we’ve all seen these videos (and probably been responsible for making a few) – but the video is a perfect showreel for the’s business – selling stock video clips. In fact, links to license the clips featured in the video are conveniently included at the bottom of the page!


Photo at top used in accordance with iStock’s Editorial Use Only licence.

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