When Do Advertising Parodies Hurt? The Power of Humor and Credibility in Viral Spoof Advertisements

Ouidade Sabri

Université Paris-Est, UPEC, IRG

Géraldine Michel

Sorbonne Graduate Business School

Management slant

  • The most harmful parodies are those with strong claim credibility and humor. By using humorous and strongly credible parodies, parodists may have more chance of attracting attention from both consumers and the parodied brand and changing behaviors.
  • A credible parody with humor may harm the brand attitudes of both more and less committed consumers. Brand managers and organizations, therefore, must acknowledge the damaging effect of parodies. Marketing managers could use the established results to justify the need to develop a detailed response strategy to credible negative parodies.
  • Distinguishing attention, brand attitudes, intentions-to-pass-along, and purchase-intention outcomes can help managers predict the potential impact of a parody. Public-relations departments could take responsibility for identifying such potentially reputation-damaging parodies.