Be Careful With Your Humor (and Your Booze)

Humor and advertising can be a very tricky pairing. When brands can get it to work, it can be incredibly successful. But when done wrong or without much tact, it can be disastrous. At its absolute worst, it can be offensive, wince-inducing and just downright stupid and harmful.

The trick is to go with your instincts. When it comes to humor in advertising, it is never a safe bet to use the current movie standards of comedy. It’s one thing to have risqué jokes and humor in movies; these are made up stories that we are watching in the privacy of our homes.

Advertising, on the other hand, is being seen by millions. And those jokes that are going public are a direct reflection of your brand. So while it is perfectly fine for Kevin Smith or Judd Apatow to make dick and fart jokes (it’s sort of a part of their brand, really), it’s not something you want to implement in your next marketing campaign.

Case in point…look at the following ad and tell us what’s wrong. If you don’t see it within three seconds, chances are that you are a terrible human being.


You read that right. That’s a blatant oral sex joke in a liquor ad. More than they, it suggests forced oral sex. Which is pretty close to rape.

This ad would have never worked anywhere, but the fact that it’s for a liquor company makes it about five times worse, considering that a lot of domestic abuse comes at the hands of those charming fellows that can’t handle their booze.

To make it even worse beyond that, this wasn’t an image that was placed in a magazine and then quickly taken back. No, it was posted to Belvedere’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the world to see.

So for some really open and honest conversation, do you see any way that this ad could have only been slightly altered…maybe even just the way it is was worded…where it might not have been so terrible?

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