A Handy Reminder To Have Fun

November 4, 2015

I recently had the opportunity to attend a film festival and fundraiser hosted by Bercom, a local, family-owned company that makes HANDy Paint Products.

Since I was told there’d be good food (Hola Arepa), good beverages (beer) and a good cause (Habitat for Humanity), I was in. On top of that, there’d be the opportunity to view and vote on some funny user-generated video content as part of an annual contest that solicits submissions from around the country with just a couple rules. One, feature the brand’s signature product, the HANDy Paint Pail; and two, don’t do anything illegal.

I walked in as a friend expecting to have a good time.

HANDy Paint Cup turned film festival beer mug.

HANDy Paint Cup turned film festival beer mug.

I walked out as a fan – one who intends to return each year for the foreseeable future – reminded of the importance of brands having fun and being playful in their marketing efforts. And not just fun-to-be-zany fun, but fun that’s indicative of a brand’s personality and the people behind it.

After the festival, I had a chance to catch up with the HANDy Paint Products team for more on how the film festival idea came about, and how they remain playful in everything they do.

MK: Tell me about the HPP Film Festival, how that idea originated, and how it’s helped you expand your reach.

HPP: Our president, Jeff Given, came up with the idea for the film festival about five years ago. We talked for several years about wanting to make fun videos that we could share on our website and YouTube to try and spread the word about our products in a fun and unique way, but being such a small company — seven people at the time — our “real” work always got in the way. We have also always focused quite a bit on giving back to the community, whether through ongoing monetary donations, product donations, or special-edition pink HANDy Paint Pails that support the American Breast Cancer Foundation. So the film festival was really the perfect way to incorporate both of those things.

The quality of the videos continues to get better every year, and in turn we are getting really high-quality content for our marketing efforts and social-media channels. It’s a way to have a great party, raise money for a good cause, and spread the word about HANDy Paint Products in a very unique way.

MK: Your team seems to infuse a lot of fun into the HPP brand, with your website, your social-media channels, etc. It provides a great sense for the type of people behind the scenes. How do those ideas come up around your office, and how do you make it a focal point to be fun and playful with HPP content?

HPP: First and foremost, I think this boils down to the fact that we really do have fun and like each other, which makes including fun in our brand efforts much easier than it probably is for some companies. We certainly don’t take ourselves too seriously, so everything the public sees is very authentic. We also don’t have a system for how content or ideas are created. If someone says or does something that Megan [Bergman, social media & operations] thinks is worth sharing, she’ll share it!

Jeff also just recently implemented what he calls “Powder Days.” Each of us are required to take off one day a month and do something fun and new. No laundry, chores or appointments allowed. I think that’s a good example of the fun, unique atmosphere we have here and it comes through in our public image.

The winning video was indeed indicative of the brand not taking itself too seriously, highlighting its signature product’s utility by portraying it as a trash can, a beer opener and a urinal, among other things. Take a look.

Brands that let a little authentic, unfiltered fun shine through in their marketing efforts are both memorable and likeable. Compared to the stale, guarded content we’re inundated with everyday, fun stands out.

Luckily, fun is in our DNA at Fast Horse, too. Two thumbs up.