5 Ads that Will Make You Burst Out Laughing

The use of humour can be a great way to connect with your consumer, but you have to make sure that the laugh is connected to the main message you are trying to convey.  A misplaced laugh does nothing really–yes, it can attract attention–but they are usually the ads we forget what brand name the ad is for.   Humour can help articulate the insight or it can be a great way to demonstrate the  experience the brand helps address.  Humour can also differ over time, across different geographies or demographics.  Some of the best humour is when only the target market gets the jokes.  Skittles ads are hilarious for teenagers, but anyone above 35 years old just looks at those spots with total confusion.

Here are five ads that will make you laugh out loud, and link in nicely with the idea the brand is trying to communicate.

Berlitz “What are You Thinking about?”

When I show this ad to an executive training classes, it usually generates one of the biggest laughs.  Most of us when trying to learn a language start to learn the basics of the language and rarely get past the point where it becomes useful.  This ad really hits that insight, by taking a very important moment and showing how the coast guard can’t even save a life when it’s obvious to us all. 

Zazoo Condoms

I remember when I worked on Child Cereals, we used to do focus groups with 5 and 6 year olds taste-testing new Lucky Charms and Trix. I used to refer to it as “birth control for brand managers” Loading a kid up with sugary cereals for 2 hours ends up with kids that seem like this kid.  This ad was done as people were just starting to email ads around and it was an early favourite.  Now we see the power of YouTube for showcasing funny ads.  

ESPN “Michael Jordan”

Perfect humour for the serious sports fan target market of ESPN.  I love ads that make the target market laugh harder than those not in the target–makes the joke even more insightful.  I love the restaurant scene.    

Nicoderm “Flight Attendant”

I have to slip in one of my own ads with this Nicoderm spot.  This ad in it’s simplest of terms is a side-by-side demonstration of what it’s like to quit “Cold Turkey” (evil, horror, terror) versus using a patch (sweet, nice, gentle) through the personification of the actress.   It really speaks to the emotional and psychological benefits of quitting smoking.  This has generated millions of hits on YouTube and it won J&J’s global ad of the year in 2006.  

Impulse “Art Class”

With TV being a visual medium, demonstration through visuals is a great technique.  In training, I’ve used the Tango ads to showcase how to demonstrate taste through visual.  This Impulse TV spot does a great show to the impact that scent can have, leveraging a human insight that we can all laugh at.  

If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

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16 thoughts on “5 Ads that Will Make You Burst Out Laughing

  1. Thanks, Graham.

    I did the one-minute-after test, and could remember all the jokes but could spontaneously connect the right brand to Zoozoos (true, had seen that several times before), “Impulse” (perhaps because it was the last in the series) and Nicoderm.

    Had to scroll up to trace the brand names ESPN and Berlitz.

    Though I laughed loudest at that one and surprised my wife.

    Too true, sometimes you remember the ad but not the brand.

    “What was I thinking?”

    • Sumit, I don’t disagree on the branding.

      In the spirit of Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness for judging advertising, most of these ads focus on attention and communication. BUT, if dont right, humour can help engagement with the ad and then all scores go up. You did the day after test. But the advantage of well liked ads is that these ads will be watched over and over again, which allows the branding to have a stronger fighting chance than very boring “well branded” ads….they’ll now be forwarded with the title of the email being “Funny Berlitz ad”.

      I think the ESPN and the condom branding is very weak. For ESPN, it’s just an ad that surprises and delights consumers already watching ESPN. It won’t make you watch ESPN more, but for a beloved brand like ESPN, surprising and delighting is a good thing to do (next week’s article) My issue with the condom ad is it’s a category ad “wear a condom” and does nothing for the specific condom. This ad could be done by government, a radio station or an association for birth control as much as it could be that condom brand.

      IF we compare, attention, branding and communication to a P&L statement, then attention is like revenue, where it gets you off to a good start. You need strong sales and you need strong attention. Branding becomes like Margin that talks to the health of those sales or the health of that attention you`ve gained.

      Here`s a link to the Judging of Creative using the Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness

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