This Agency Hires Improv Comedians to Brainstorm Your Campaign

HP, Pandora try out 'funworkshops'

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Who (l. to r.): Kenny White, head of product; Paul Charney, CEO; Craig Mangan, CCO
What Creative agency
Where San Francisco

Founded by ex-Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and BBDO creatives in 2014, San Francisco-based Funworks organizes "funworkshops"—brainstorm meetings that pair brand marketers and the agency with improv comics—for clients like HP, Pandora and Virgin America. Funworks' creative and production teams then create campaigns based on the ideas discussed. "Comedians bring the ability to think really fast, and they allow clients to share their thoughts," said CEO Paul Charney. "You have to turn your self-critic off to get to original ideas." Most recently, music streaming service Pandora was paired with an improv group that asked, "What do you do when your favorite song comes on?" From there, its latest campaign was born: 33 social media influencers recently began promoting the company's personalized radio station with sponsored posts on Instagram, Vine and YouTube.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 22 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.