A fifth of primetime tv commercials are now meant to be humorous, and research shows that comedy both garners attention and improves likability.
Humor by Itself Is not Enough in Advertising
Even though your jokes are hilarious, there is no assurance that your product will sell like hotcakes. The first point of contention is one of the principles. Marketers frequently forgo informative material to incorporate comedy into their advertising, and this trade-off does not always transition well with the language of sales data. Most funny commercials have less information and relevancy, resulting in reduced desire for the offered products than non-funny ads.”
Of course, an ad’s capacity to elicit attention and likeability is important but being amusing is not always enough if you want to boost sales in the short term. The message, not the humor, is what motivates the customer to act. The sweet spot of funny advertising is creating comedy that complements, rather than substitutes, the message.
Laughter creates a strong bond between the buyer and the brand, but the difficulty in obtaining it is proportionate to the payout value. It is easier said than done to turn a blank page into laughs, and it is much more difficult when you are trying to avoid overshadowing the message and brand.
Furthermore, everyone’s sense of comedy is unique. What may seem 100%, positively, positively hilarious to you is almost certain to grate on someone else’s funny bone…or worse, offend them. That is a fine line to walk, especially because botched attempts at humor are notoriously unpopular.
Like any other strategic decision, this one is based on several factors.
So, no, comedy is not a magic bullet for increasing sales. It is not, however, the poison to your company’s credibility that it was previously portrayed to be. It has advantages and disadvantages, just like any marketing plan, and understanding how it works is critical to determining when it should be employed.
On the bright side, it captures the attention of viewers and boosts their liking for your brand.
On the other hand, comedy is difficult to come by. Making people laugh is difficult. Even if you achieve this, you risk diverting attention from your advertisement’s main message and useful substance, that are the real sales generators. There are also other factors to consider, such as if your brand has a character that would work well with humor. Is the audience for the products/services targeted to be receptive to humor?
While most studies into the use of comedy in advertising (including this piece) focuses on television ads, the broad ideas identified can be applied to other media such as Digital Advertising, Social Advertising and various Digital Marketing methods.