Joking your way to your audience’s hearts.

Winston Churchill once said, “A joke is a very serious thing”. I believe Churchill was speaking about the power of humor, how even though we speak different languages, live in different continents and grow in various cultures yet we all enjoy something that makes us smile and laugh. It is a powerful way to not only send your message to the audience, but a character trait that shows how your brand would be if it was a person.

Here are examples of some brands that use humor on Twitter, and while you look at them, think about how they make you feel

Old Spice:

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Innocent Drinks:

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Netflix (Click the picture if you want to see the GIF):

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Old Spice and Taco Bell having a chat:

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Probably at least one of them made you smile, or maybe you couldn’t help your tears while laughing so hard to all of them. Simply, what humour does, is make us like something or someone more. According to a study on the effects of humorous advertising on brand recognition by consumers, humor is generally associated with increasing product awareness, thereby increasing brand recognition and association. It’s also found that it helps spreading positive word-of-mouth and increases intent to suggest a brand to someone else. Think about the examples you just saw, would you be more prone to buy from them or use their service, or do they just seem less professional?

Using humour is a tricky path: with great power comes great responsibility. Although we share our love for laughter and humour, what we interpret as funny or what we think is a good joke, varies immensely. There is a saying that people don’t by from clowns, which means there is a fine line between showing your whimsical and playful character and offending your audience and making yourself look like a fool. So if you’re planning on following the humorous path, don’t make the mistake they did:



12 Offensive Advertisements You Shouldn’t Mimic Under Any Circumstances


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7 Responses to Joking your way to your audience’s hearts.

  1. pauliinaluukkainen says:

    I enjoy a little humour myself in adds, but it depends on the company the brand and its purpose. For example I love the Old Spice’s commercials and the humour in them because it is tasteful an suits it. Then we could compare it to let’s say an insurance company where things are serious and you are dealing with peoples’ health. There is not a lot of space for humour because it would not be taken seriously and wouldn’t attract the consumers. BUT for example what Danske Bank did with its #äitilähetärahaa (#momsendmemoney) campaign, even though banks are also quite the serious type, it had good humour and was targeted correctly to the young consumers and worked. I think it’s important from the beginning to think about the message a company wants to give people, and as you said humour is tricky but doing it right it can be very very powerful.

  2. luciledw says:

    I belive the humour in advertisement is a really good way to do publicity but it can also be risky. First of all it makes commercials less boring and I think it create a link between the brand and the consumer. But the humour can affect in the wrong way the brands. The advertisers have to be carefull in order that the joke would not harm the comprehension of the advert and of the product or service. They also have to be carefull about what they laught about, where are the limits in order not to lose consumers and not harm the brand image. The goal is to interact with the consumer, not to offend them

  3. adieckho says:

    I believe that laughing is important because it builds a sense of community, and that’s exactly what we aim for in branding. By offering something positive they can remember easily and share with their friends and family, companies are connecting their brands even stronger to their customers’ lives. It also provides a new way of attracting attention and establishing a relationship with potential customers. I, for example, follow a Facebook page that collects the best puns and posts of several well-known German companies. It is very unlikely that I would’ve visited their Facebook pages; yet, these brands are brought to my attention on a regular basis because they post something funny or clever.

  4. elsangashi says:

    Humor is something that has always connected people, so when a big company has a Twitter account with funny, clever, sarcastic or relatable posts, it makes the company instantly more approachable and customer friendly. Of course there’s a risk of over doing it and for example offending someone by mistake, but I personally think that little humor is always good!

  5. annvihersaari says:

    I really love humour in adds, when it is used well and in right context. Just like u said : “using humour is tricky path”, i agree; its really hard thing to nail and really easy to fail! It was great that u told about both, good and bad examples. I think your post was really fresh and fun to read and the pictures u had chosen was great addition.

  6. Jflory says:

    Great insights and examples. Humour can be a very valuable tool in marketing and branding as you noted with OldSpice’s successful rebrand. It can definitely be a tricky strategy to navigate, especially in the age of social media and the need to stay relevant and on top of trends. A great example of a blunder is Digiorno’s misuse of the “#whyistayed” hashtag on twitter. Successfully snarky on social media in the past, they were a little too quick to the punch on that one and didn’t fully comprehend the context of the hashtag before they tweeted. The backlash was immense and had the potential to sink the brand, but their recovery is also a notable case study on damage control “how-to”. Have a read about it here:

  7. marieketermeer says:

    You have grabbed my attention in the very beginning of this blogpost by using a quote from Churchill and I think you have made your point. All the examples really led the way and I think that is great! Jokes can be a great way to gain more competitive advantage and brand awareness, however I do believe that they should always somehow be related to your business too.

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