Make ‘Em Laugh

Share this Article

By: Shea Posey, Senior Account Executive and Jake McKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine. But with the continuous onslaught of bad news and stress over the last two years, is now really the time for brands to incorporate humor in their advertising? Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

If the Super Bowl has taught us anything, it’s that funny commercials are very effective in terms of ad recall and brand affinity. A recent study by Kantar found that one-third of ads use some form of humor and those that do are more effective. However, the use of humor in advertising has declined each year for the last decade, even before the influx of solemn “we’re all in this together” ads in 2020.

SOURCE: Kantar

That trend needs to change. People want it to change. In fact, at the height of the pandemic, consumers still wanted to see more humor in advertising because it helped bring back some normalcy to their lives. Humor also has a way to bring people together, which is something this world is in desperate need of these days.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to be as corny and over the top as Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain, but a little humor can go a long way. With supply chain interruptions, inflation, high gas prices, a war in Europe, and the talk of food shortages on the horizon, consumers need to laugh now more than ever. Studies have shown that laughter relieves pain, boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones, and lowers blood pressure.

From a marketing standpoint, humor creates an emotional connection that helps people remember your advertising. In other words, the use of humor builds mental availability. When consumers are longing for something to entertain them, and your brand’s ads make them laugh, they are more likely to remember, notice, recognize and buy your brand.

So, if consumers want more humor, and humor makes ads more effective, and laughing greatly benefits us both mentally and physically, why is the use of humor in advertising on the decline? One popular theory is that creatives themselves are experiencing the same levels of stress and anxiety as everyone else, making it more difficult to be funny and to write for humor.

Another reason could be that brands are simply afraid of not getting it right and being labeled as insensitive. You can still be funny while remaining respectful about current events. The most important thing is to make sure it aligns with your brand’s core messaging.

Regardless of what’s going on in the world, there is, always has been, and always will be room for humor. Laughter helps make awful situations less overwhelming. In the words of Peggy Noonan, “Humor is the shock absorber of life; it helps us take the blows.”

To learn more about what marketers can do to reach consumers in times of stress and how to help guide them through the uncertainty of current events, watch our latest webinar. And if you would like to discuss how we can help you turn psychological insights into great creative advertising, give us a call at 833-579-1905 or email us at [email protected].