International Moment of Laughter Day

April 14

Find that inner giggle and let it loose. Laugh like a 10 year old. Now figure out how your brand can do that!

Humor in advertising

You have heard this before, but I will repeat it:

People buy from people. 

It is your job for your brand to be human and real for your customers. One great way is to use humor.

This Psychology for Marketers post has a few examples of videos which have worked well for their brands. Of course, the most in-your-face humorous clips are British. While it works on that side of the pond, on this side of the pond it is likely to get you in hot water. Be mindful of your demographics!

This HubSpot post has more “American” brands with more “American” humor examples. Notice that many of the brands featured in the post are boring insurance companies. We have certainly noticed in our house that the insurance company ads have been spectacular, witty, and funny enough to watch several times (to see what you missed the first 10 times).

Humor builds brands

Data show that humor will not necessarily sell more product from the outset. The data show that humor makes your brand more memorable. If your brand is more memorable (for good things) then eventually you should sell more products — if you have done your product marketing correctly!

What wacky, crazy things happen if people don’t use your product?

If you can find the humor, be it witty, dry, or (gasp) cute, then you may be on to something more memorable than what you have been doing.

How to do humor

Humor can go awry, so be careful. Start small and get bigger as you get better.

  1. Rule of three. People remember three things:
    “I came. I saw. I conquered.” — Julius Ceasar
    “I can promise you Blood, Sweat, (Toil) and Tears” — Winston Churchill
    “Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears” — William Shakespeare
  2. Big, big, little or Little, little, big.
    Use the rule of three, with a twist. The first item establishes the pattern. The second item reinforces the pattern. The third item provides the twist or humor.
  3. “Let me tell you where you are wrong.” Famous words from Winfred Denk.
    Practice. Practice. Practice.  Show your ad, your copy, and your images to your team, your family, and people who do not know what you are trying to do or accomplish. I always like to use people who are my “naysayers” or “most critical commentators” to tell me where I am wrong. If you can get a smirk from your favorite nitpicker, you probably have something.

Now do it

There is a time and a place to use humor. Figure out when and where. To have the most effectiveness, it should be planned. Both the channel and the timing.

Here are some thoughts about both. 

Warning labels on humor

  1. Humor must be within brand
  2. It must not be offensive
  3. It must be refreshed