Saving the World, One Laugh at a Time

Arlo Guthrie once famously said, “Just because you’re trying to save the world it doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun.”

In fact, if you are trying to save your small part of the world I’d go a step further by suggesting that adding a little fun will not only ease your stress associated with saving the world, it might just help you accomplish your mission as well.

Which is why I’m always happy to stumble upon examples of traditionally serious organizations taking themselves a tad less seriously. For example, as part of an annual tradition, Calgary aldermen broke out into a five-minute elastic band fight at a city council meeting, as a fun way to end their last meeting before adjourning for a month-long summer hiatus.  

Then there’s the mysterious case of the police press release that went viral. Sgt. Dean Jantzen, the public information officer for the Saanich Police Department on Vancouver Island, has increased traffic to their police website by one-third using witty, attention-grabbing headlines such as “The Stupid Criminal of the Month Award,”  “A Mr. Bean Style Robbery,”  “Who Wears a Balaclava During Summer?” and “The Chip Bandits.” Some of his press releases have even gone viral because of their humorous tone.

Of course, not all of his headlines or releases are witty – after all, crime is a serious matter and the tone of the release needs to reflect the context. But in those instances when a little levity is called for, well, what’s wrong with helping your message travel a little farther afield? Especially, if you’re trying to save the world.

Michael Kerr, Humor at Work. For great ideas, inspiration and a few laughs along the way, sign up for the weekly e-zine Humor at Work.

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