Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Lesson of Wolf Jenkins - Assumptions make an ASS out of U and ME

We had an interesting experience over the past month with a show that we launched on our YouTube Channel – we made an assumption about how it was being received in the US which turned out to be … well … wrong.

The show concerned is the brilliant animation Wolf Jenkins which went up on Wildseed Comedy on YouTube last month and have had some great reactions. People are really enjoying it. And so they should, it’s the dumbest thing we have made and all the better for being so.

Early on though we had a couple of really confused reactions from people in the US. Some friends who we work and share our content with and share content with said that they just didn’t get it – and we sent it one of our US Twitter followers and asked them to tell us what they thought; answer … not much!  It was always possible that this person didn’t have a sense of humour at all, but because we heard it from people elsewhere we decided to dig deeper.

32% of our YouTube subs come from the US but only 24% of views to Wolf Jenkins. I jumped straight to the conclusion that we had created something that didn’t appeal to the US sense of humour. 

There’s been a lot on social recently about the differences between the US and UK.  The hilarious list of differences posted to Facebook by a US tourist which has gone viral and a listicle posted to BuzzFeed about how the Brits have Confused The Hell Out Of Everyone on Tumblr including the always excellent ‘Cheeky Nando’s’ episode

I was guessing that the understated,  anti-hero type humour of Wolf Jenkins just wasn’t playing over there.  We decided to target all our marketing at the UK.

A couple of days later I posted a question on my personal Facebook and asked my US buddies for a read – ‘was the humour (or humor) too British and incomprehensible to a US audience?’ I asked.

NO! They said as one. The problem was they couldn’t tell what was being said. It was the accent and the delivery and sometimes the music was obscuring the dialogue.

US audiences with a sense of humour love Wolf Jenkins when they can understand it. It all comes back to quality of your sound and voice tracks. If you want to appeal to as wide as possible an audience you need to get your sound right – it’s easily as important as picture. I even wrote about it here for my blog about making micro-buster movies (see rule 7).

Don’t assume. Ask. It’s what social media is for. One of the things it’s for anyway.

And its trousers, not pants.