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Using Humor in Advertising

October 23, 2011

Charlie Chaplin The Tramp debuted in 1914 -- p...
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Advertising Is Not A Funny Business First, a warning. Professional Advertising does not recommend that you use humor in your advertising. A lot of people simply dont have a sense of humor. You lose them immediately, and the potential size of your market shrinks. And humor is in the eye of the beholder. It is commonly misinterpreted. Many people will not get the joke. Your market size just shrunk again. And humor often insults someone. They may simply get angry because they dont get the joke. This is fire we are playing with. Your market just shrunk again.

Is it worth the risk? Laugh Out Loud – Advertising Humor Yes, humor in advertising is risky. It can also be devastatingly effective. When done right, humor works – really, really well. Advertising is about getting attention. The best ways to get attention with advertising are with strong visuals, sex, powerful headlines, and humor. Lets look at how to use [or not use] humor in advertising. Advertising humor is wonderful for getting attention. As you look at some of our sample ads, we hope you get a good idea of what we mean. Advertising humor can be extraordinarily effective when it is used correctly. People will actually look for your ads, and talk about them if they are good. But there are rules about using humor in advertising to represent your company, and following them is probably a good idea.

First, people like funny things. They relax and pay attention when they know you have a sense of humor. It puts them in a good mood, and it creates a more comfortable atmosphere and a more positive image for your company. It makes you easy to approach, and easy to remember. Advertising humor works best with established and commonly purchased products. Humor in advertising works for business services, familiar items, and products we all know. But corporate image and industrial advertising are serious business. Unknown, risky, expensive, or sensitive products are not normally suited to the lighter touch of advertising humor. Advertising humor also needs to be well suited to its audience. If your customers don’t get the joke, then the joke will be on you. A sophisticated audience will understand your irony, satire, and puns, but a young audience may only understand slapstick comedy or a silly cartoon caricature. Inside jokes can be effective if the recipient understands that it was done for them, but nobody else will get it. And advertising humor can backfire. If you make a joke at the expense of any one group, you will surely alienate them. Everyone loved the “Where’s the Beef” commercials done by Wendy’s – everyone, that is, except the senior citizens who did not like being portrayed as grumpy old people. Advert

via Using Humor in Advertising.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 27, 2011 10:40 pm

    Nice article – this is an area of creative that must be dealt with very carefully.

    You’d think that common sense would guide more people… as would some market research

    … but i think many agencies are too lazy to do the research and lots of people in all fields lack common sense. sigh.

    Hey, thanks for including my link at the end of your article.


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