So, should humor be used in marketing? Yes, it should be used but be careful. Using humor in marketing can help a brand connect with an audience by showing a human side. You can use humor in marketing to grab attention, engage an audience, and create interest. However, it can also backfire when used inappropriately.
Should Humor Be Used in Marketing?
“According to research conducted by Kantar, humor in advertising has been declining since roughly the year 2000, with far fewer ads categorized as “light-hearted” or “funny.” This decline only sharpened after the global recession of 2008. Another study from Oracle found that 90% of people were more likely to remember a brand’s ad if it was funny, while 48% said they didn’t feel they had a relationship with a brand unless it made them smile or laugh. As the old advertising adage goes, “If you can make someone laugh, you can sell them.” — Forbes Business Council — Being Funny Pays Off: Let’s Bring Humor Back To Advertising
We see examples of humor being used effectively in marketing daily, such as the Allstate Mayhem series, Jake from State Farm, and the Geico Gecko.
However, some kinds of humor should be avoided in the marketplace, including offensive, tasteless, and poorly timed posts. An example of poorly timed humor in a marketing campaign was Burger King’s tweet on International Women’s Day – “Women belong in the kitchen.” Or the Dove TV commercial featuring an African American woman removing her top and suddenly transforming into a white woman.
“Be careful with controversial topics: Sometimes, it’s best to leave the potential edgy issues and language in the comedy clubs. While joking about such things may gain attention your brand-it may not be the type that your company executives are looking for.” — Bryan Kramer — The Power of Humor in Marketing
7 Ways to Use Humor in Marketing
- Alliteration always attracts audiences
- Exaggeration works 1000% of the time
- Self-deprecation—funny stories about mistakes you’ve made
- Personification like the Geico Gecko
- Surprising your audience
- Puns. I think I’m very punny
- Funny comparisons
Have you used humor in marketing? If so ,what has worked or hasn’t worked for you and your brand?
I have a humor category on my website that has successfully introduced people to my professional services. I’ve collected these pieces and a few others into one volume.
Writing I Think I’m Funny: and it gets me in trouble all the time has been a labor of love. Of the 47 stories in this book, more than 30 are true tales from my days on this planet. Most of those make it clear how my warped sense of humor gets me in trouble.