OBSERVATIONS: A Cross-Cultural Study on the Affect-based Model of Humor in Advertising

Lynette S Unger
Marketing Department, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

The feasibility of international advertising standardization continues to be debated; however, the economies offered encourage companies to attempt global campaigns (Lipman, 1988). Consequently, copy elements must often be universal enough to promote product benefits and image among different cultures. Humor may offer such universality. Despite its variation in form, humor is panhuman (Ziv, 1988). Moreover, jokes and comedy appear to be easily borrowed and often travel quickly from culture to culture (Mintz, 1983). While humor's ubiquity is widely accepted, evidence for its viability as a persuasive element, particularly in international advertising, is sparse at best. Anecdotal evidence indicates that humor has been used successfully in global advertising campaigns for several corporations (Berry, 1985). One study found humorous intent in 24% of US and 36% of UK advertisements (Weinberger and Spotts, 1989).