Using Honesty and Humour to Create Successful Videos: A Rhett & Link Case StudyRhett & Link are a hit duo who create hilarious web videos. Their content ranges from web commercials and branded entertainment, to comedy music videos and their own YouTube talk show, Good Mythical Morning.
But just who are Rhett & Link, and what is it that makes them so successful?
Who are Rhett & Link?
Rhett & Link have been friends since elementary school, and they continued through high school and university together. The pair started making videos in high school, when in 1994 they made a film parody of tragedy Oedipus the King.
They were roommates at university where they both studied engineering, but their true passion was (and still is) film and video, which they taught to themselves in their spare time. Shortly after graduating they both quit their new-found engineering jobs to focus on video production, which is now their sole source of income.
What do Rhett & Link do?
Self-proclaimed ‘internetainers,’ Rhett & Link specialise in creating engaging, funny web adverts for local US businesses, although they have also been hired by big name companies such as Taco Bell, Cadillac and Alka-Seltzer to create branded entertainment web videos.
One of their biggest successes was being hired by McDonalds and Coca-Cola to create a TV commercial based on one of their own concepts, T-Shirt Wars – the original video of which was created for a T-shirt printing company:
The McDonalds and Coca-Cola version can be seen here.
Rhett & Link’s success in advert production began with three homegrown web commercials, filmed in their home state of North Carolina. The most popular of these – an ad for Red House Furniture – became a viral sensation, probably thanks to its controversial jingle, “where black people and white people buy furniture,” and tongue-in-cheek comedy styling.
After the initial success of these videos, Rhett & Link went on to create several more web commercials for free for local businesses across the USA, nominated by users on their website. The series of web videos – titled I Love Local Commercials and sponsored by MicroBilt – focused on using a low budget and local talent to create humorous adverts that are ‘so bad they get good again.’
Rhett & Link were featured on US talk show Lopez Tonight, and even got host George Lopez to make a cameo in the commercial for his favourite local donut store:
The success of the web series led to a TV show, Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings, which followed the duo around the US in their quest to make homegrown web commercials for local businesses that don’t have the big marketing budgets of large companies. The TV program showed the making of the videos, which were generally shot within 48 hours using scripts made up on the fly by Rhett & Link.
What makes Rhett & Link’s videos so successful?
Rhett & Link successfully apply humour across a range of different businesses, resulting in advertisements beautifully packaged as hilarious entertainment. The primary focus is on creating something entertaining and watchable, with the brand coming second. This sort of approach means the businesses being advertised come across as human – a key element of any trusted business.
Humour is injected into the videos using straight-up honesty, again making the businesses seem more trustworthy and reliable. A prime example of this is Rhett & Link’s advert for mobile homes:
This video says it like it is. Lines like, “these are mobile homes, not mansions,” “they’re used. Some of them have stains. We cover that up,” and “if you don’t buy a trailer from me, it ain’t gonna hurt my feelings … so come on down and get yourself a home. Or don’t. I don’t care,” are things big businesses would never dream of saying – and probably couldn’t get away with saying – but are what makes Rhett & Link’s videos so successful. Honesty and transparency are paramount to the videos’ success and are a crucial component of the humour.
None of the videos created by Rhett & Link take themselves too seriously. In today’s corporate world, being ‘professional’ is largely associated with being serious – but Rhett & Link show effortlessly that this simply isn’t the case. The brands featured in Rhett & Link’s videos definitely couldn’t be accused of taking themselves too seriously, but at the same time they present themselves as professional, trustworthy and likeable companies that you’d be happy to do business with.
To see more of Rhett & Link’s videos, check out their YouTube channel.
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