Humor And Marketing: The Good, The Bad, And The Just Plain Wrong

Is he laughing and thinking about your product? He should be.

Around some internet marketing watercoolers, there’s been an idea that you can’t go wrong with a campaign based on humor. On the surface of it, that sounds┬álike it’s pretty much true. Studies throughout time have shown that humorous things are more likely to stick in a person’s mind and more likely to be shared. But there’s a hidden problem: just because it’s sticking in their mind and getting shared doesn’t mean that it’s doing anything for your brand.

Humor Alone Isn’t Enough

Making people laugh is a good start. But let’s explore what happens if you publish something that is funny and completely unrelated to your product. For example, a completely unrelated video of cats. How are people going to remember that you’re the one who did the publishing? They might remember the video, they might be inclined to share it, but they’re not likely to think about your company every time they do.

A couple of weeks ago, we published a blog that had a (pretty awesome) cat video at the bottom of it. Did it make our readers laugh? We really hope so! Was it shared a few times? Maybe. But did it make people think of us every time? Probably not. Of course, the video wasn’t made by us and wasn’t branded, so it’s not a perfect example, but it’s still a pretty good one.

How Good Are Un-Funny Ads?

So we’ve determined that relying purely on humor to drive your marketing isn’t a good idea. But what about ads that aren’t humorous? Well, there will always be a place for them to some extent. It’s pretty hard to have a humorous ad for a funeral home. Just like jokes on some subjects will never be funny, funny ads for some businesses will never be appropriate.

But what about if your business falls into a grey area and you’re not sure? Well, in that case, it’s probable that a humorous ad will be better than one that isn’t funny. But you don’t want it to be completely unrelated to what you offer.

Funny Only Works When It’s Relevant Funny

Random and funny might get shared, but it isn’t going to spread the word about your business. Relatable but un-funny isn’t going to get as much traction. So in an ideal world, your campaign should harness the best of both: make it funny and make it relevant. Find something that’s entertaining about what you offer and then expand on that. But always make sure it ties back to your company and preferably has a direct tie to at least one of your products.

The following two tabs change content below.