Humour can create emotional appeal and "buzz" or virality. However, the humour should link to the brand to avoid overwhelming the branding or message, especially in a more rational appeal. Gender, age and geography of the target need to be considered in creating humorous advertising.

Definition

Humorous advertising is designed to be funny for the target audience and provokes laughter in the viewer/reader. It is used mainly to gain attention and generate involvement in an ad or to create positive emotion which is attached to the brand.

Key insights

1. Humour is an effective creative strategy in content and social

Some of the best campaigns entered into the 2018 WARC awards in both the Effective Social Strategy and Effective Content strategies categories used a humorous appeal. In the Effective Social Strategy category 60% of entrants said humour was a very important part of their campaigns. Gentle humour was employed by French mineral water brand Hépar and OTC gas-relief brand Gas-X to tackle the taboos of constipation and gas respectively – and increased sales. Other winning brands that employed humour were US airline JetBlue and Danish border supermarket Fleggaard. In the Effective Content Strategy category humour also made a strong showing as the creative strategy for shortlisted campaigns. Humorous content, such as Grand Prix winner Coca-Cola’s Hijacking the African Cup or Whiskas’ Kitten Kollege, not only got attention and made people feel good but also created new, shareable cultural references.