Nov 04, 2015

The Power of Ha!

Why Humor Works in Today’s Marketing
By Ward Pennebaker
Colgate-Plax-Eye-Mask

What’s surprising, then, is how often and how well humor is used in both B2C and increasingly B2B marketing communications. With more sophisticated measurements and ROI calculations available, laughter has proved itself a bankable tool in the marketing arsenal.

Consider: in the Nielsen Global Survey of Trust in Advertising, a poll of more than 29,000 Internet respondents in 58 countries showed that 47% of global respondents believed that humorous ads resonated the most.

That’s a big number — with a lot of potential. With this much upside, marketers might take another look at the power of ‘funny business.’

Smile Share

The timing is excellent, as far as surveying the field for humor in advertising. The annual Super Bowl is not just for football — in terms of ad competition, well, it’s the Super Bowl.

We can look at the 2013 collection for an illustration of what works in terms of humor. As reported by Ace Metrix, out of the Top 5 most effective ads, three used humor. In the auto category, survey results from RadiumOne (reported in Aota) show that 45% of respondents indicated they would research a brand on the Super Bowl ads — including this memorable spot by Volkswagen.

When in comes to print ads, email advertising, radio ads, even capability brochures, the right type of humor can take you out of a me-too category, and present your company as authentic, interesting and human. Below is a great collection of print ads that succeed in combining levity and a sales proposition.


What does all this prove? That humor is a great way to break through the information and pitch clutter — and get your message heard.

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