Flux capacitors and green eye shades

May 04, 2011|By Laura Vozzella

When you paid your taxes last month, maybe you grumbled or wept. You probably didn’t laugh —unless you stumbled on the wacky accounting videos KatzAbosch has posted on YouTube.

The Timonium-based certified public accounting, tax and consulting firm has a better sense of humor than you might expect of your average CPA. Which is to say, it has a sense of humor. An odd sense of humor, but a sense of humor nonetheless.

Using Xtranormal text-to-movie technology, the firm has created a series of cartoon videos. In one, an unnamed KatzAbosch rep chats with the host of a financial TV program.

Host: “Say I’m a small business owner and I have a refund due to me from my state but they won’t issue a payment because they are out of money. What do I do?”

KatzAbosch rep: “If you were a client of ours, that wouldn’t be a problem.”

Host: “But let’s say I’m not.”

KatzAbosch rep: “Then I suggest you go back in time approximately one year and call KatzAbosch.”

Host: “I am just a simple small biz owner —“

KatzAbosch rep: “Who owns a time-machine business.”

Host: “No, I do not. This is just a hypothetical situation.”

KatzAbosch rep: “Right, then let’s say you’re a stainless steel auto body panel manufacturer.”

Host: “OK, and my state won’t send me my refund.”

KatzAbosch rep: “And your friend is an original equipment manufacturer of flux capacitors.”

The guy behind the videos is Graham Dodge, the firm’s 35-year-old director of marketing. His professional background is not in accounting — surprise, surprise — but improv comedy.

“I lived in L.A. for 10 years and trained at a comedy improv show similar to Second City, The Groundlings,” he said. “I got up to the fourth level of The Groundlings. ... In doing these little videos, I’ve had to draw upon that experience.”

Dodge said he got the idea from a series of GEICO commercials that used Xtranormal cartoon-making technology couple years ago.

“I started goofing around and playing with creating a sketch and I think I created two in one evening. And I posted them onto our YouTube channel,” he said. “The next day I anxiously pointed them out to our COO and our CEO to get their feedback and they both loved them.

“I would say they are very dry in their humor and irreverent. I try not to force any messaging into them so that they do remain sort of purely entertainment. That’s been one of the things people have remarked on most; it’s a nice blend of branding and humor without actually trying to force feed any sort of messaging.”

The six videos are good, goofy fun, but is that the way to sell a business you’d trust with your finances? Dodge thinks so.

“If there’s any negative feedback, no one’s told me,” he said. “I certainly heard some indifference from certain people who don’t get it. We did have a potential client … [whose] impression was, we were sort of their grandfather’s accountant. And now they see we’re a very relevant accounting firm with fresh ideas.”

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