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Humour in advertising: why it's okay to be the laughingstock.

When it comes to leaving a lasting impact, it goes without saying that humour plays a vital role in advertising. But it's funny how humour is often missing from the digital marketing scene. Agencies seem to have forgotten that laughter can be a powerful tool. Let's see how being funny can help your brand stand out.



Does being funny really pay off?

This is a question you must ask yourself. What was the last ad you saw, television, print, or digital, and how did it impact you? Was it purely for sales, or did it actually invoke any emotion?


In a study conducted by Kantar, one of the world's leading data, insights and consulting companies, the digital ads that excel in establishing brand equity are the ones that evoke a range of emotional experiences. Interestingly, humorous ads emerge as the top performers among these emotional triggers.


But forget all the boring statistics and data for a moment because here's something we can all relate to — our innate desire to share something hilarious. Whether it's a silly dad joke that makes us groan or a simple knock-knock joke that never gets old, comedy has this incredible superpower of bringing people together.


When an ad makes us laugh, it becomes more shareable. That's why those witty and funny commercials have a way of spreading like wildfire. They tap into our funny bones, ignite a sense of joy, and create a connection that goes beyond just selling a product.

Not just that, when brands incorporate humour into their ads, they do much more than get a few laughs. They're building a bridge between themselves and their audience. By making us laugh, they create a shared experience that makes us feel like they truly understand us. This connection, in turn, strengthens their image as a trustworthy and relatable brand.

Your joke is either going to be “THE BOMB”, or it's going to bomb

Let's get real for a second. Comedy is a great tool to get your message across to the audience, but it can make your brand look tone-deaf and unprofessional when done incorrectly.

It's all about the timing: Just like a well-timed punchline in a stand-up comedy show, a perfectly placed joke in an ad can work wonders. A misplaced punchline can disrupt the flow and break the trust you've built with your audience.

Offensive humour is a no-go: Avoiding serious social topics when crafting an ad is always best. This golden rule applies to all ads, regardless of whether they're meant to be funny or serious. It's safe to say that no one is betting on Kendall Jenner to heal racial tensions just by sharing a soda. Yeah, Pepsi, we're talking about your ad.



Avoid Boomer Humour: Memes are all the rage right now but never attempt to capitalize on a trending meme if you don't have a complete understanding of it. We all know Gen Z can be ruthless when it comes to defending their memes. It's a skill to navigate the fine line between making a meme and preventing yourself from becoming the meme.

To wrap things up

In advertising, a brand's personality sets the stage for its tone. While humour may not be the go-to for every brand, one thing remains clear: ads are meant to strike an emotional chord and foster a genuine connection — And when it comes to accomplishing that, nothing beats the power of humour.

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