It’s been said that the key to effective advertising is trying to capture the wider audience’s attention; to create a memory. So question is, if an advert has humour in it, is it going to capture the target audience’s attention any better than if it doesn’t have?
Studies show that humour is used in almost half of all TV or Internet advertising and that it often contributes to having very effective ads. Humour can make ads memorable and enjoyable. However, it is important to make sure that the humour does not distract from the product being sold. If it does, the ad can be rendered ineffective.
For example, look at the coke ad in the YouTube clip below:
Most people would consider it to be funny simply because the coke machine is giving out endless bottles of coke, but in the midst of all that coke popping out of the machine, the ad is achieving its objective and relaying the message about the product being advertised.
This ad works because it is about an everyday item doing something unusual.
The challenge in humour advertising, as in any type of advertising is not only to attract attention, but to capture that attention and focus on it. An ad like this coke one will definitely hold anyone’s attention as everyone is curious to see why the coke machine is giving out so many bottles of coke. Something we all secretly would wish for!
The key to humorous advertising is to ensure that the humour is appropriate for both the product and the customer, meaning that it should not be offensive to the customer, but should clearly relay the message about the product being advertised.
It’s also worth noting that perception of humour is different among different people and different cultures. What would be hilarious for one would leave a bad taste in another’s mouth. What works in one country, may be lost in another. With this in mind, it is imperative that the target market be considered when producing a humorous ad. For TV or Internet ads where the humour is visually displayed, it is important that the message is clear in order to avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations.
Studies also suggest that humour is more likely to enhance the target audience’s recollection, evaluation and purchase consideration as well as their attention for a longer period of time. Humour gives without, necessarily requiring anything in return. Subtly, relying on recreation of that good feeling at the checkout.
One of my favourite TV ads which always captures my attention and makes me laugh is the All-bran Honey Almond cereal (Tall Jan is malicious). That is a classic example of an ad that captures its audience attention and stays with them for a long time.
So remember, next time you are in a supermarket, buy some “Tall Jan is malicious” cereal and laugh it up all the way to the checkout.
Share your thoughts on humour in advertising:
Do you think ads that contain humour are more effective than those that don’t?
Have you ever seen a humorous ad that you felt did a fantastic job of relaying the message about the product being advertised?