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The Art of Humor in Advertising

October 22, 2011

Editor’s note:

Humor in advertising is a delicate method of attracting a viewer’s/listener’s attention to the client’s product. Done right, it achieves success. Doing it right means not only engaging the prospect but getting them to remember the product. On a national level who can forget the Budweiser Frogs and Wendy’sWhere’s the Beef” on television. The VW Bug intro campaign was a great one in print.

Advertising & Marketing Review decided to explore the art of humor in advertising with some locally successful people. We invited Tom Evans, Creative Director at Morey-Evans to talk about humor on radio. The agency is responsible for the Good Times Burger spots. Don Stroh has been successfully creating direct marketing cartoon humor and addresses that issue. David Emrich of Post Modern, approaches the subject from the production standpoint. Enjoy their comments and learn more on the art of humor in advertising.

What is funny in radio is a question that should be preceded, as when evaluating any creative medium, with another question.

Why be funny in radio?

By Tom Evans, Morey-Evans Advertising

One very good reason is that two other common approaches, direct information (announcers) and musical entertainment (jingles and the like#, are both so inherently a part of the existing programming of radio that commercials utilizing those tactics often disappear into the sea of clutter fomented by the medium itself.

What real chance does a rock-n-roll beer commercial have to stand out between a gazillion-selling cut from The Rolling Stones and a gazillion-selling cut from Big Head Todd?

Humor, on the other hand, is rare. So rare, it stands out. It engages completely. And, #pay attention because this is really important) as long as the laughter it generates is relevant to your intended audience and messaging strategy, humor has undeniable power in the radio medium.

While true humor is rare, attempts at being funny, unfortunately, are not. It’s kind of like trying to jump over the net after a tennis match. If you make it, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re gonna catch a foot and flip on your head and look like an idiot (funny as that may be#.

In other words, as much as funny radio is effective and appreciated by listeners, unfunny radio that’s trying to be funny is, well, annoying as hell.

An undeniable tenet of broadcast writing was shared with me once by a tipsy creative director during a three-martini lunch #this wasn’t recently). “A funny script is an accomplishment, but a funny commercial is a miracle.”

I’ll give you an example. I remember a spot a few years ago written by John Rabuse, a freelance radio writer in Minneapolis. It featured a guy talking on the phone to a nurse at an urgent care facility.%2

via The Art of Humor in Advertising.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. plr permalink
    November 12, 2011 3:58 am

    free plr hey there,
    just came across you on msn. Nice write-up, I was just thinking about something similar. May possibly begin blogging myself! Kudos plr


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