Funny ads are a great strategy to attract customers. People pay more attention to a funny commercial than a serious one, which enables them to be influenced. Humorous advertising only works if the humor is appropriate for the customer and the product.
Certain products lend themselves to humorous ads more than others. These products are usually inexpensive, consumable and can be presented without a lot of facts. These products don’t need an explanation, which leaves room for humor. Products that benefit the most from humor include food, drink, candy, alcohol and toys.
Here are some tips to create a winning humorous ad:
Keep the humor relevant to the product. One example is the series of Taco Bell commercials featuring a Chihuahua that loves Taco Bell and is always saying “Yo Quiero Taco Bell.” This worked well because the Chihuahua is native to Mexico, and Taco Bell serves Mexican food. People across the country were imitating the dog, and because the message included the name of the restaurant, the message was reinforced in a relevant manner. People got in the mood for Taco Bell food just by imitating the dog!
Consider your audience’s personalities. Different things are funny to different people. One full color brochure or newspaper ad may leave one person in stitches from laughter while offending someone else. Be sure to market to your target audience. If your target audience is older, then using a funny reference to an older sitcom is okay, if you don’t mind the younger audience “not getting it.” If the younger people aren’t your target audience, you don’t have to worry about them. But, having said that, you don’t want to offend them or their intelligence either – they do have older relatives.
Don’t target your audience. Yes, you must market to your target audience, but don’t use them as targets for your humor. You want them to be on your side, laughing at people that aren’t like them or situations that they aren’t likely to be in. If you’re using brochure printing as one of your mediums, don’t feature someone that represents your audience in a humorous front page photo. You may want to use an animal, like a monkey, to represent the “other people.”
Test it out with focus groups. So because you know your target audience’s personalities, you think you know what makes them laugh? Prove it. Gather a focus group of your target audience and show them your ad, brochure printing piece, billboard and whatever else you’ve come up with. Ask them for feedback, and if any of them found the material or message offensive, you should seriously think about changing your message.
Change it up. Humor only improves brand recognition, not credibility, product recall or buying intentions. Potential consumers may become familiar with the product, but their purchasing decisions won’t be affected. Once a commercial gets old, it gets annoying. You have to be prepared for this, because this makes humorous campaigns expensive. You have to change it up by creating different ads based on the same idea. Make sure you have room in your budget before you start a humorous campaign. You can also change it up by using different mediums: television ads, radio ads, full color brochures, flyers, billboards, etc.