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.
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:
- 5 Ads that Will Make You Burst Out Laughing
- 5 Ads that will give you Goosebumps
- New TV ad from Samsung: Is it “smart” to Take on Apple?
- Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” Campaign is stealing the Olympics
- Confession: I killed two doctors in 2006
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