The Jester Archetype - Irresistible & Sensational

The Jester archetype is used in branding to turn ordinary into extraordinary, bland into quirk, and the pessimistic into optimistic.

Anita T is an award-winning marketing consultant with 15+ years of experience.

There are 12 key brand archetypes famously referenced in branding, including the Jester archetype. These archetypes were originally created by one of the most referenced psychiatrists, psychoanalyst Carl Jung who founded analytical psychology and expanded on by branding experts like Margaret Mark in the book "The Hero and the Outlaw". Carl theorized that humans use symbolism to better understand concepts. Learning to leverage these symbolic personalities help businesses achieve competitive advantage through identity.

  • Build resonance & understanding
  • Evolve from transactional marketing
  • Create extraordinary meaning
  • Enable communication on a deep psychological level
  • Differentiate & compete
  • Inspire customer loyalty

Learn more about the 12 brand archetypes or take The Brand Archetype Assessment.

The Jester Archetype (also known as the Comedian or Entertainer)

The Jester archetype is not one to withstand an awkward silence, lightening up serious products and services. These brands know how to let their hair down, figuratively speaking of course. The Jester archetype seeks to be that bright ray of sunshine in a dark world, spinning the ordinary into the extraordinary, the bland into quirk, and the pessimistic into optimistic.  

This campaign by Dollar Shave Club is a prime example of the Jester archetype...

Dollar Shave Club is a great example of using the Jester archetype in branding.

The Jester Archetype spins the ordinary into the extraordinary, the bland into quirk, and the pessimistic into optimistic.  

The Jester Archetype Strengths

With humour and high energy centric to its branding, the Jester Archetype strives to create happiness and community. Jester Archetypes look for attention and, successfully attract it. Their branding is magnetic, fun and almost over the top - their marketing techniques - are likewise.

The Jester Archetype is great for businesses that need to make a pretty ordinary product or service, suddenly seem so much more enticing. They diffuse blandness or tension with wit and humour, using these traits as a differentiator in a crowded marketplace. The Jester tends to be used to attract a younger demographic but this isn't the rule - rules don't apply to the Jester. Jester brands don't just break rules by accident, they seek to break them using wicked humour, irreverence and originality.

The Jester Archetype Characteristics

  • Charismatic
  • Mischievous
  • Carefree
  • Witty
  • Think outside the box
  • Entertaining
  • Offbeat

Jester brands align themselves with partners that help articulate these characteristics. For example, M&M's 'shine a light on rising comedy stars.' They create fun personalities to associate with different coloured candy.

M&M's is an example of a Jester Archetype.

The Jester Archetype Family

If you've ever been to a comedy show, you'd notice that there are different types of comedians. The same goes for the Jester. Branding experts break the Jester archetype family down into 4 groups:

  • The Entertainers
  • Clowns
  • The Shapeshifters
  • and the Provocateurs

The Performer believes a good show is all that matters, the Clown highlights the absurd, the Shapeshifter can twist any situation, and the Provocateur is not afraid to stir up change. For all family members, they believe laughter is the best medicine.

For the Jester brand laughter is the best medicine.

The Jester Archetype Branding Examples

The Jester Archetype can be polarizing and controversial. These brands stir the pot, like satirical news source The Onion or coffee company Dunkin Donuts. The Onion is provocative and irrelevant, and Dunkin Donut is a clown. Jester brands lace their content with laughs, push boundaries and help their audience escape their troubles.

Dunkin Donuts likes to have fun in its adverts.
The Onion is a satirical news source.

OREO cookies is a brand that likes to amplify its fun personality with product offers like 'customise your oreo'. You can add photos to your 'oreoid', pick your colour sprinkles and wrap it in a gift box. The hilarity of their ads has earned them a following of their own, using captions like, 'Wonderfilled' and 'Celebrate the kid inside.' Even its Twitter profile boasts it's 'your favourite cookie, filling your world with playful moments, 280 characters at a time.'

The Voice of the Jester Brand

If you haven't got the gist yet, the Jester is often very punny. These brands are optimistic, playful and ironic. Skittles for example ironically removes its colours every year during Pride month as a show of solidarity with the community.

Jester brands love irony. Image source: thehealthyherbivore on Instagram.

While in some ways, this is artfully political, Jester brands are typically politically incorrect. These brands take the straight jacket off personality.

The Jester Archetype Power Words

Power words crank up marketing effectiveness by evoking emotion and triggering curiosity. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it makes a marketer's life easier. Here are some you might use for the Jester Archetype:

  • Obsessed
  • Guilt-free
  • Cringeworthy
  • Hilarious
  • Ridiculous
  • Massive
  • Light
  • Unforgettable
  • Embarrassing
  • Sensational
  • Shocking
  • Hack

The Jester Archetype Colours

The Jester Archetype is a shining light in a dark world. The life of the party doesn't usually don bland colours after all. Wild colour schemes suit this brand and colours that transcend tradition and societal norms.

  • Bright orange
  • Bright red
  • Bright yellow
  • Pink
  • Bright blue
  • Whatever you like basically as long as it's bright, comprendre?

The Jester Archetype On Social Media

Fast food chain Taco Bell exhibits Jester branding right down to the finest detail - from their humorous sauce packets to their social media. They know how to integrate their brand characteristics across every touchpoint - even their taco Snapchat filter is hilarious. If your brand archetype is a Jester, consider each touch point your customer/prospective client crosses, and how you can integrate your own brand characteristics.

Taco Bell likes making their social media accounts punny.
Sponsored Snapchat filters are a great idea for Jester brands.

Social messaging platform Discord is another example of a Jester brand. Discord uses weirdness to create a feeling of acceptance for all. Their posts can be quirky and well... awkward.

Discord embraces awkwardness.
Messaging platform Discord embraces all things weird and wonderful.

KFC is another example of a Jester brand. They call their chicken 'fried gold', and offer certi-fried KFC wallpaper for your mobile phone on their Instagram. Their campaigns play with captions like, 'When life gives you lemons, eat chicken', 'look at the fried side of life', and, 'The breast it yet to come'.

Jester brand OREO is really good at creating content that is relevant to a trending hashtag, event or issue that matters to their audience. For example, for the TV show The Bachelorette, they popped a cookie in a ring box and tagged it 'if the ring isn't as big as an OREO Cookie, we don't want it'...

OREO is a great example of using the Jester archetype in branding.
OREO knows how to have fun on social media.

The Jester Archetype Vulnerabilities

The Jester Archetype has to be careful they don't look so silly that they are perceived as a fool. Their avoidance of 'conventional' can mean they're mistaken as unprofessional. Their classic irreverence for social norms and desire to buck them can cause the Jester brand to trend on toes and offend others. Sometimes brands can use that sort of publicity, but sometimes, it turns sour.

A brand's external positioning can also impact internal culture. Jester brands can shrink from commitment, terrified of being tied down, which can leave these brands struggling to establish clear processes and efficiencies internally. Their fear of negativity and the desire to pursue the present can also prevent retrospection and analysis. This can be easy enough to mitigate, if you're aware of the tendency and invest resources into counteracting it.

Unsure what your brand archetype is? Take the brand archetype assessment.
You may also be interested in: Brand Development Services.


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