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Illustration of a picnic blanket with ants under a magnifying glass.

What do you do, again?

Obedient is a creative agency specializing in humor.  (We answered in third person to keep you on your toes.)

What does that mean?

We blend our branding expertise with our comedic expertise to create messaging that hooks in consumers and compels them to take action.

What does that look like?

Think of messaging as any words you’ve ever read from a brand that made you feel or do something. It also entails the big-picture creative strategy that fuels the overall theme, narrative, P.O.V, intent, and tone behind every single word or phrase. Some examples of messaging: The name of a business, a slogan on a billboard, an instagram ad, website opt-in language, an abandon cart email, user experience copy on product packaging, a jingle, the founder story on the about page.

What will that do for me?

Our entire ethos is that ‘fun sells’—because we believe that when levity links up with strategy, big things happen. Namely: the ordinary becomes entertaining, the complex becomes digestible, the predictable becomes compelling, the controversial becomes approachable, and the right people stop what they’re doing and pay attention to your brand.

Wait a minute, JUST messaging? What about design?

We know design is everyone’s favorite child in the branding and advertising world, and we offer that service on a case by case basis—but only when we are also working on the creative concepting and messaging. We’re on an unabashed mission to help people realize that it’s an enormous waste of time and money if their creative assets *look* good…but sound mediocre (using forgettable words, in the wrong voice, promoting the wrong benefit, addressing the wrong pain point). In a perfect world, design and copy are created in tandem, impacting one another in a beautifully symbiotic relationship, but far too often messaging is an afterthought (even though it is a dealbreaker in terms of campaign success). The point? We can do clever, memorable design too…but only for select projects. Our first love will always be words.

Who else has bought into the Obedient lifestyle?

Namedrop alert! Here’s a big picture look at the wiseguys who brought us in on their brand.

What kind of businesses do you work with?

Our bread and butter is bread and butter…AKA consumer packaged goods. But our approach is effective for any business that’s ready to differentiate and transform their brand into something truly unique and unforgettable. We’ve worked within every industry out there: Beauty & Wellness, Food & Beverage, Healthcare & Tech, Fashion & Retail, Hospitality, Professional Services, Impact, Athletics & Education—proving time and time again that fun and humor are the best tools for engaging an audience and standing out among competitors. Does it get exhausting being right all the time? Honestly, no.  For funsies, you can see a laundry list of our clients here.

Why is humor a direct path to brand greatness?

Allow us to answer this by roughly paraphrasing a famous advertising quote that we love: all marketing is unwelcome, so if you’re gonna crash the party, you better bring champagne. Using strategic humor and fun in your messaging is the most effective way to engage consumers (attention), endear them to your brand (retention), incite them to action (sales), and inspire them to tell their friends (free marketing).

What if I just want good branding and don’t care if it’s fun?

We get it. Your bottom line revolves around being the best you can be. Killing it. Hitting all of your goals. You’re probably more interested in your branding being effective, and less in  how it gets there. But lend us thine ear for a quick minute and we’ll explain why you actually really do care if your branding is fun.

You’ve likely heard the widely-proven fact that purchasing behavior is an emotional decision—which means that while you yourself may not care if your brand is fun, we can assure you that your consumer does. (More on fun in the next Q, btw). Now, the reason fun is so critical in branding is that it goes (way) beyond simply entertaining and wow-ing your audience, and does an incredible job at eliciting an emotional response from them—one you can strategically control with the type of messaging you employ. Your campaigns can perform and persuade in different, powerful ways depending on the tone of voice, persona, or device you use with your copy. Basically, if you expect your business to garner attention & memorability (consumer acquisition), or loyalty (consumer retention) you better lead with creative messaging that incites anything but apathy. Bonus: when you choose to communicate your message with positivity and levity, you make people feel good. And people want to be in the presence of things that make them feel good; brands included.

So in conclusion, making your consumer feel good IS good branding. Case dismissed. 

How do I know fun will work with my audience?

“Fun” is a big, colorful umbrella (picture a human-sized cocktail umbrella) that covers a wide range of customer experiences. It shows up in the branding world in ways you’ve maybe not considered or categorized as “fun.” The most simple definition we can offer is that fun branding is the opposite of expected, bland, ordinary, or commonplace. It’s important to note that the terms ‘fun’ or ‘funny’ mean vastly different things to different people—some hear fun and think silliness, some hear ‘humor’ and think shock value. For others their first thought is bright colors or satire or wordplay or wit or animation or candor or non sequiturs or pop culture references…the list goes on.

Every style of fun and humor (voice, tone, persona, aesthetic) performs and persuades in different ways; with each of them pulling a different emotional response from your audience. One creative approach may make a consumer feel energized and inspired (a tactic we often use when working with brands in the Consumer Packaged Goods space,) while another might dispel mistrust or suspicion (a strategy we adopt for our clients in the Healthcare industry). Another messaging strategy might help a consumer feel less confused and overwhelmed (our go-to approach with brands in the Fintech space).

The list is endless(ly exciting) and, obviously, an approach as nuanced as that requires serious strategy from serious experts (hi, hello, at your service).

Can’t you just take my existing work and make it ‘funnier’?

Since your audience, objectives, and competitors drive our creative approach, we would never try and wedge great ideas into unexamined frameworks. As we often remind clients, you can create the most clever campaign, but if its tone is wrong for the intended audience, or if it elicits the wrong emotion, or drives home a message that isn’t central to your consumer’s needs and desires? Then it is just a tree laughing alone in the forest. This is why we don’t touch a project with a ten foot pole without incorporating strategy.

Do you have a list of services?

Yep—right here, Precious Website Visitor. And if you are cooking up something not listed, don’t hesitate to reach out. We love to make special exceptions for special projects.

I didn’t see social media on your list of services, what gives?

We do not do standard, churn and burn  social content, but we love creating dynamic, clever, must-click social ads and believe that if you want to stop someone in their frantic scroll you need a serious dose of inventive originality. (Our specialty.)

What begins with T, ends with T and has T in it?


Can I hire you to help me name my new product or offering?

CAN YOU EVER. We love working with people in the pre-launch phase when they’re determining all of the foundational aspects of their brand: name, tagline, mascot (yes, really). A strong, memorable, unique name is critical in getting consumer attention and far too often this is overlooked in favor of a more literal approach. Consumers are inundated with new products, offerings, and services so if you want to leap off the page, shelf, or screen, coming up with a creative, clever name is huge. And, we’re killer at it.

Why is naming such a significant investment?

Naming is one of the most difficult tasks in the game. Naming is also the type of thing that seems easy and intuitive—and is anything but. Deep amounts of research and strategy go into crafting a name that is right for your business and the intended audience. To top it off, naming also feels remarkably personal and clients tend to choose names with their guts (despite our careful guidance and strategy). WAIT WAIT add in the beast of trademark availability (goodbye, favorite, ideal name concept)… and you’ve got a perfect storm. A name is the centerpiece upon which your entire product/offering/restaurant/business revolves around…the thing you will be forever known as…and you don’t want to invest in it? No shade, but we think the right name is the last thing you should want a bargain on. Just ask Analtech, Sam & Ella’s Restaurant, STD Contractors, and Fifth Third Bank.

Do consumers still care about a tagline or slogan? Is that something I should prioritize?

Some may think of slogans and taglines as iconic staples from years past, but we believe that nothing is more timeless than having a clear, memorable one-liner that succinctly synthesizes what your brand is all about. Ours, for example, is ‘fun sells.’ We use it all over the place, which is what you can do with the right tagline: social bios, packaging copy, home page, business cards, to kick off an elevator pitch, etc. It’s your opportunity to stick in your audience’s mind, intrigue them, and articulate how you are different and better than anything they’ve tried before—all in a matter of seconds. (Can you tell this is another of our favorite types of projects?)

Do you offer real-time, client brainstorms?

You sound like a fan of our improvised brainstorming show, Can They Brand That®. Hi— we love you. And we totally understand how fun it looks to real-time riff, but we only perform those quickfire ‘storms on the show as a fun example of our creative prowess. All of our client projects get weeks and weeks of deep strategy to make sure every idea and asset are funny and foolproof.

Can you do my marketing deployment?

There are a lot of agencies that say they do it all—everything from brand voice to creating and deploying a multi-channel marketing strategy. The words ‘full-service’ are thrown around a lot in our industry. But ya know what words aren’t? Fun, play, positivity, comedy. And since we didn’t want to go to all the trouble of building an agency from scratch just to do work that doesn’t excite us, we decided to stick only to what does. Are we capable of things like managing your social media accounts, optimizing your SEO, mobile applications, art directing, photography, and blogging? Affirmative. But we’ve found it more impactful for our clients to focus our agency’s offerings on what we do best (and what no one else is doing)—and that’s creative branding that thinks, sounds, and sells differently than the norm. Because when we’re at our best, you’re at yours. Just one big massage train of excellence. For what it’s worth, we realize that it’s convenient (and often comforting) to choose a single agency to be the one-stop shop to handle all the bells and whistles for your launch or relaunch. But let’s put it this way, when you want an excellent steak wouldn’t you be better off going to the best steak restaurant than somewhere that simply has it on the menu?

Do you do video and photography?

A friendly but hearty no to photography. Re: video, if the project and client relationship is right, we’re in for creative concepting or scripting.

Can you work with my budget?

We pride ourselves on finding inventive, meaningful ways to work within your budget, and every project is custom quoted, based on what you’re looking for. But like we infer on our services page, this is the Good Stuff and the Good Stuff rarely comes at a discount.

Do you ever partner/collaborate with other agencies?

We play well with others and since we aren’t “full-service” it’s not uncommon for a large client project to involve multiple smaller agencies with different proficiencies working together under a singular creative strategy. If we are in one of these lovefest projects, we typically lead that creative charge; establishing the overarching message and voice for the campaign and helping that story come to life across every channel and deployment.

What’s the best thing about Switzerland?

We don’t know but the flag is a big plus.

Why did the chicken go to the séance?

To get to the other side.

Are you available for speaking engagements?

Our founders Allie and Lyndsay are available to bring expertise, humor, positivity, and unique points of views to panels, conferences, podcasts, as emcees, or hosting local workshops. You can ping fun@obedientagency.com to get on our radar.

Where is Obedient based?

Obedient is based in Chicago and Nashville, but our entire team works remotely across the country, and sometimes, the world.

Gary’s mother had three children. The first was called April, the second was called May. What was the name of the third?


What is Spec Work and why is it included in your Trophy Case page?

Call us obsessed, but in our down time we like ideating wacky ideas for brands that are currently in the zeitgeist…or explore weird campaigns that came to us in a dream the night before. This creative exercise lets us flex our creative muscle, chime in on campaigns or brands we aren’t currently working with, and showcase more proof of the power of humor concepts. And since there’s zero red tape or client edits, the funniest idea always gets to win.

Do you know what you can hold without ever touching it?

A conversation.

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