HITMC Chat Social Media

Parody + Humor in Marketing

On June 6th, Taco Bell announced the return of their Nacho Fries by releasing another parody movie trailer. “Chasing Gold” stars Darren Criss and even features an epic song called “Love of My Life”. It is simultaneously a send up of rags-to-riches music movies (cough, A Star is Born, cough) and an homage.

Taco Bell has successfully used these “blockbuster movie” parodies to market their limited-time Nacho Fries in the past. There was “A Web of Fries” starring Josh Duhamel and “Nacho Fries: Retrieval” starring James Marsden. Both are funny and well-produced.

Parodies can be a powerful marketing tool. When done properly they can capture public attention (aka go viral) and generate a lot of attention for your brand/message. However, they are very difficult to pull off. If you play it too safe, the parody falls flat. If you exaggerate too much, the parody can turn into a mean-spirited slap-in-the-face or offend the audience.

I tip my hat to people and organizations that have mastered the art of parody. I am completely in awe of those who can use it to promote their brands. Below are some of my recent favorites:

This month on HITMC I thought it would be interesting to discuss parody and humor in healthcare marketing. How can it be best used? Does it automatically come with an expiry date? How much is too much? And what should you do when a campaign goes too far?

Join me on Tuesday June 18th at noon ET (for your local time click here) when we will discuss the following questions:

  • T1 Share examples of humorous healthcare marketing. What made them stand out?
  • T2 Does humor and parody have a place in the healthcare marketing mix? If so, when and how is it best used?
  • T3 Good parody is based on current memes & popular culture. Does this mean parody-based marketing has an expiry date? Are there ways to keep it fresh?
  • T4 How much is too much? At what point does humor/parody go too far?
  • T5 What suggestions do you have for responding to criticism and backlash when a humor or parody-based campaign fails?
  • Bonus What is your favorite comedy movie?

Image Credit

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at HITMC.com. Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment




The Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) is an extension of the HITMC conference that is the first of its kind event that brings together marketing and PR professionals from throughout the health care community. We strive to provide amazing marketing and PR related content that helps HealthIT companies and healthcare organizations  stand out amidst all the noise of the industry. If you’re looking to market to hospital executives, doctors, practice managers, patients, or other healthcare professionals, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the HITMC community!