Are you a 'Jester' Brand? Act Like It!

Jester Brand Archetype Case Studies

(Still need to read our quick introduction to the 12 core brand archetypes? check it out here)

Banking isn’t the most playful of topics. Mortgages, loans, savings accounts…the first word that comes to mind is unlikely to be ‘fun’, especially in an industry which is held somewhat in contempt and viewed with great distrust after the 2008 crash. To counter this, it’s no surprise that adverts for financial institutions generally try to play the ‘friendly and approachable’ card. However, Scandinavian bank Nordnet hilariously subvert this with their ‘Transparent Banking’ series, poking fun at every advertising ploy within their industry and challenging tired convention. (View the first advert in the series here.)

Using parody and satire to push home a serious point is the secret of the world’s best and funniest comedians, something Jester brands such as Nordnet also do with great ease. Jester brands lower the tone and lighten the atmosphere. They combine wicked intellect with humour, and are able to think on their feet with lightning speed.

The Jester (sometimes called the, Joker, Trickster, Fool or Comedian) is boldly original and mischievous. It is also an excellent ‘combination’ archetype, taking the edge off some of the stiffer, less overtly joyful archetypes such as the Warrior, or adding a touch of irreverence to the sentimental Lover. (We will go on to talk about these other archetypes in more detail further in the series).

A lightning-quick overview of the Jester archetype

Mission: To live in the moment with full enjoyment.

Values: Humour. Mischief. Truth. Change. Surprise.

Personality attributes: Playful. Zany. Witty. Mischievous.

Brands: Ben & Jerry’s. Firebox. Nordnet Bank. Mailchimp. Skittles

Characters: Follow the link to our Pinterest Board of Jester Characters from TV, film and literature.

How Can We Express our Jester Archetype?

1: Make them laugh! Be funny! Be joyful!

2: Challenge expectations like a stand-up comedian; being both self-deprecating and pointing out the ridiculousness of your industry in your messaging.

3: Break the rules, challenge industry conventions and work against them.

4: Use outrageous imagery and playful absurdity - weirdness attracts attention.

5: Affectionately tease your customers.

How have other brands expressed this archetype?

Mailchimp provide an incredibly comprehensive style guide here.

Whilst it doesn’t specifically make reference to the Jester archetype, it’s an excellent resource for picking out the core principles which make their use of it so effective. As they say - Mailchimp is ‘Weird but not Inappropriate.’ It’s important to remember that the Jester brand is not just bizarre for no reason.

McVities capture the Jester’s element of surprise and subversion- the characters settle down to a nice packet of biscuits in what seems like a fairly conventional ad, only to be delighted by kittens or puppies emerging!

(Watch the ads here and here)

Not sure if your brand is a Jester? Don’t forget that your brand is probably a mix of two or three archetypes. We’re going to be exploring all of them over the next few weeks. So do please sign up on the right and we’ll be sure to keep you updated. Not just on Archetypes but other creative ways to bottle your brilliance and build your brand.


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