Colenso BBDO launches online social faux pas avoider for NZ Comedy Festival

  • Advertising
  • April 30, 2012
  • StopPress Team
Colenso BBDO launches online social faux pas avoider for NZ Comedy Festival

In a world where political correctness often seems to rule, taboos are plentiful. Thankfully, busting them is still an integral part of good comedy. But there's still potential for embarrassing social mishaps with every attempt at edgy humour. So, to help provide some guidance as to what is and what isn't appropriate, the NZ International Comedy Festival gathered together an elite team of stand-up comedians, sit-down mathematicians and Colenso BBDO digital folk to try and solve a riddle that has plagued mankind for centuries: when is it too soon to joke about something? 

The result was toosoon, a search engine that uses "a complex algorithm" to find millions of current online conversations, sample the tone of those conversations and calculate the positive and negative sentiment to make a prediction.

If public sentiment is mostly positive, the topic gets an All Clear (eg Hitler, John Banks, rugby players, the irish, gays, 9/11, Rena). And if public sentiment is mostly negative, the topic gets a Too Soon (Maori and Erebus were in there, but there may be some kinks to iron out because so were Shane Warne, Sally Ridge and the Port Dispute).

If it's Too Soon, the search engine uses the collected data to estimate a time and date you'll safely be able to joke about it and after five searches it matches the search terms to upcoming shows. There's also mobile version so people can avoid social blunders and buy tickets to Comedy Festival shows on the go. And, given the wowser rates in New Zealand, the site also comes with a disclaimer: "We apologise for any offense taken. We take no responsibility for topics entered, results produced, or jokes told. If your search produces a result that you strongly feel is still too soon, please contact us at".


Agency: Colenso BBDO

Creative Chairman: Nick Worthington

Creative Director: Levi Slavin, Aaron Turk

Art Director: Aaron Turk, Alexandra Tyler

Copywriter: Levi Slavin, Hadleigh Sinclair

Account Manager: Lucy Sparks

Agency Producer: Rob Linkhorn

Digital Creative Director: Aaron Turk, Levi Slavin

Digital Designer: Aaron Turk

Digital Developer: Paul Headington


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  • Radio
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