The Miraculous Attributes of Humour
When it comes to humour, there still exists no agreement on a general theory, however, the mechanisms that govern humour are well documented.
According to Mark Levitt, managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising, many of the most memorable ad campaigns around tend to be funny. However, the key lies in assuring the humour is appropriate to both product and customer. Audiences like to be entertained, but not pitched. People will pay more attention to a humorous commercial than a factual or serious one, opening themselves up to be influenced. However, the balance between funny and obnoxious can often be delicate; and a marketer must be certain the positive effects outweigh the negative before an advertisement can be introduced.
The best products to sell using humour are those consumers have to think the least about, are relatively inexpensive, and often consumable, because they can be represented without providing a lot of facts, thereby leaving room for humour.
Advertising of this kind tends to improve brand recognition, but does not improve product recall, message credibility, or buying intentions. In other words, consumers may be familiar with and have good feelings towards the product, but their purchasing decisions will probably not be affected. One of the major keys to a successful humorous campaign is variety. Once a commercial starts to wear out there's no saving it without some variation on the concept. Humorous campaigns are often expensive because they have to be constantly changed. Advertisers must remember that while making the customer laugh, they have to keep things interesting, because old jokes die along with their products.
The use of humour has become common practice in advertising, yet the outcome of research into the efficacy of such a tool remains inconclusive highlighting the need to apply humour with care, since it by no means guarantees better ads. However, its effect can be enhanced with careful consideration of the objectives one seeks to achieve as well as the audience, situation, and type of humour.
The first definitive instance of mass media advertising in English was an ad printed in the Weekly News in 1625. About a century later, British born George Packwood who primarily sold razor straps, decided to distinguish his brand, by entertaining his audience using slogans, jokes, and stories in his ads. Yet the first periodical ad to feature a humorous illustration is attributed to Warren’s Shoe Blacking in 1820 and is considered a milestone of print advertising.
Almost 200 years on, this indispensable tool has gone through many alterations with the evolution of technology backed by crafty copywriting.
Looking back at the content created for brands using humour leads us to conclude that this approach is more of a ‘paradoxical’ art form due to its ability to elevate if successfully incorporated, or destroy when wrongly executed. As a result, guaranteeing a specific outcome when employed is elusive at best driving advertisers and clients to take serious heed and in most cases, play it safe.
A good example of a humorous ad gone bad is the campaign the Lebanese Lottery created in partnership with Impact BBDO Dubai. Launched in 2015, the campaign was designed to effectively encourage people in Lebanon to play more and win big by making them feel luckier. To bring that luck back, a reverse strategy was used, namely that of gathering all stray black cats, which the Lebanese believe to be a bad omen and fly them out of the country. The hashtag #Goodbyebadluck was created inviting people to call a number if they come across a black cat, which may entitle them for a reward. Working in association with municipality officers, the medical council and animal care, Loto Libanais arranged for the cats to be flown to New Zealand for a VIP treatment, where the animals are believed to bring good luck.
However, the whole thing fell apart when animal lovers jumped to defend black cats and raised numerous objections against what they considered a tastelesslyoffense ad that harms all animal lovers
Lebanese Lottery's #Goodbyebadluck TVC
Warren’s Shoe Blacking