Thursday, April 5, 2012

Adding Humor to Marketing... Smart or Stupid??

When it comes to marketing campaigns, I love to see what creative flair that people bring to the table.  I applaud the master minds of creativity that are behind the funniest campaigns of the year.  This is why people sit around the television during the Superbowl to check out the commercials.  Yes... some like the budweiser horses with the cute dogs but really, we want to see the commercials that will literally make us bust a gut.  But is funny smart for a marketing campaign or does funny come with a big red FAIL stamped on the campaign?

Well let's look at some of the current campaigns on the market today.  When you think about ads and commercials, which ones do you remember?  After surveying many people on what their favorite commercials are, most people came back with commercials that have funny scenarios to them. People remember these because that funny bone has a direct link to the brain.  People like to laugh, so why not make them laugh while marketing to them?

Why do people remember funny commercials?  It is the same reason people remember heart felt commercials; it triggers an emotional response which sticks in the brain causing people to remember the brand. However, just like an emotional commercial, this must be done right.  A bad commercial, funny or not, is still a bad commercial. 

Check out these bad commercials....

After these bad commercials, what kind of emotional response did you feel?  Personally, I don't even remember most of them.  I completely lost interest.  Now check out these commercials....

Because these commercials were done correctly, they were funny and most likely made you laugh. The idea is that you will remember the brown M&M or the Dorito commercial.  Of course these are large corporations that have a ton of money to spend on funny commercials.  These type of companies have the best of the best marketing strategists to come up with hillarious ideas for commercials.  Here are some really funny commercials for businesses that may not be quite as large as Doritos, but funny just the same:

Print advertising can have the same affect on people as commercials.  Being in the print industry for most my career, I can remember the ads that either my client or I have created that were a lot of fun.  I don't however, remember the ads that were not.   Having a good kick to a print ad is important because ads in a magazine or newspaper do not have the sense of sound to assist the visual stimulation to the eye.  Ads need to be quick, precise and to the point.  Print ads also need to be very catchy.  You tell me... which ad do you prefer?

The one on the left shows a simplistic look.  It's red, catchy, funny and to the point.  This is a great ad for print publications. The one on the right however, is not a good ad for print.  This ad isn't a good ad for anything.  It's ugly, busy, and distasteful.  I mean really... you are going to sells rugs at discounted prices because the owner died?  Get real!! That's not a good ad. 


The great thing about adding humor to marketing pieces is that even though this has been done many times, humor can be reconstructed and redesigned over and over again.  This can create new and exciting pieces using the old element that many marketing experts have used over the years.  It makes branding fun, people enjoy the laugh, and tend to remember the brands.  However, if this is not done correctly, it could also be detrimental to a brand.  So is adding humor smart or stupid?  In my opinion, I think it is smart.  I think this is a great way to get the attention of the consumer.  Obviously good judgement is required when it comes to creating a funny campaign.  After all, companies that are not meant to be funny, let's say a funeral home, probably shouldn't go along the lines of funny.  Using correct judgement when creating a marketing campaign is crutial.  However, if your business can afford to bring in a campaign that will tickle the consumer funny bone, I say go for it.  I mean who doesn't like to laugh right?   I know I do.  So when it comes to funny ads, I say bring it on!

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