In It For the Laughs: How to Effectively Use Comedy in Advertising

Personality obviously plays a large part in building a brand, whatever your personality may be, it needs to be reflected in your brand. If you try to fake it, clever consumers are going to see right through you.

The key here is to remain genuine and play to your strengths…especially if you’re funny.

Year by year, the number of companies that find success in placing humor in their ads grows substantially. The reasoning behind this is that funny materials tends to grab a consumer’s attention quickly and is much more memorable than traditional ads.

The tricky part is to make it work. Humor in advertising is harder than it looks. There are so many different kinds of humor out there that you have to really know your audience in order to make humor work. For instance, if you’re trying to draw in an older audience (say, over 50), you’re probably not going to have results with awkward humor. Similarly, if you’re trying to gain momentum in a family market,

P and G Old SpiceThe great thing about humorous ads in today’s market is that they have the potential to go viral online. Just ask Old Spice about this. During their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, their YouTube channel was one of the most visited on the site for nearly a month. More than that, Old Spice sales skyrocketed by 108% in the month following the campaign’s launch.

So what’s the tricky thing about placing humor in an ad?  You have to create a message that supports your ad while being carried by the humor—that is, one can’t detract from the other. If you have a hilarious ad but no substance for your product, you have failed. Alternatively, if you have gotten the point of your ad across but the comedy has fallen flat, you have a failure on your hands.

Lastly, if you want comedy in your advertising but aren’t exactly the funniest person out there, this is the time you might want to hire a writer. Make sure you do a reference check to make sure they have dealt with comedic writing before hiring them on.


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