By Melissa McDonald, Creative Director and Head Writer

I was recently in one of those popular Japanese stores in the mall. I saw this folder and maybe I’m just too persuadable but I laughed. I wasn’t sure if this was a cultural/translation issue, like was this supposed to be a version of Live, Laugh, Love? I don’t know. Maybe it meant exactly what it says.

Laugh and LAUGH!!

It’s not terrible advice. We’ve all had those moments where a laugh moves from being about something funny to being about how hard everyone is laughing. Maybe that’s what this is. Those incredibly silly moments when the laughter is about the laughter.

Well either way, it worked on me. I was completely charmed by this folder.

A study done by the Journal of Marketing found that “humorous advertising is more likely to secure audience attention, increase memorability, overcome sales resistance, and enhance message persuasiveness.”

Your customer wants to laugh. Making someone laugh builds instant rapport and trust. Your business becomes more relatable and approachable. And humorous campaigns tend to stick in people’s heads. 

A 2016 study on humor in advertising revealed what to keep in mind when using humor to reach your customers:

  • The most effective humor in advertising should sidle up to the edge without going over. For example, portrayals of physical harm, destruction or violence in advertising are obvious turn-offs for audiences. But when it’s a clear exaggeration (think Allstate’s Mayhem and the destruction it causes) it can work. One example that didn’t work was Nike’s campaign featuring elite runner Suzie Favor-Hamilton and the tagline “Running will make you live longer,” which showed her being chased by a chainsaw wielding maniac through the woods.  A customer can find your ad funny and at the same time form a negative response to your brand as a result. Nike’s chainsaw ad was quickly pulled.
  • Humor should be aimed at the general population, never at a subset or specific group of people. Relatable, human foibles are fair game!
  • Humor should motivate your customer to approach you. Approachable messages are ones that cause your customer to relate to you, feel a sense of empathy along with the laughs. An ad can be technically funny but still elicit avoidance from your customers. Messages that cause avoidance are fear, shame, disgust. 

The YEAH YEAH Agency can help you find the funny and avoid the pitfalls. YEAH YEAH was built on the idea that your business is fun and people should want to be in on it. Ask us how we can help. And in the meantime, take a minute to laugh. And maybe even to LAUGH!!