Humorous Ads- Pros and Cons

This is one of my favourite ads, especially because of its unique quirky humour. More often than not our favourite ads are those which have an element of humour in them, yet using humour for advertising, may not always be the safest bet. While humour can draw people to your communicated message, and does wonders to keep the audience hooked, it also has a very short life. What a consumer found funny in the first viewing may not remain so, after he/she has seen it 50 times. 
While good humour can hook a prospective customer to the message, and make it easy for them to remember, weak humour can  have a completely opposite effect. It can detract consumers from the advertisement. It can also have a negative impact on the brand’s credibility. A frequently recurring ad with weak humour can be a big turn-off for consumers, and greatly affect sales. 
Similarly using dark humour or humour at the expense of a political ideology is dangerous to say the least. It can alienate an entire set of demographics away from the advertised product. So humour whenever used, must be used carefully. That being said a humourous ad is the one most likely to spread through word-of-mouth-communication. The primary viewer will ask those around him/her to watch the ad, solely because it is funny. I am sure you have been part of conversations in the workplace or college where friends/colleagues come up to you and ask , “Hey, did you see that ad? Oh God, it was so funny….look it up on YouTube”. 
Sometimes, ads like this or the Vodafone zoozoo ads in India (unanimously the most adorable ad icons in the country), which use a humourous icon can overpower the brand and the product it was originally advertising. The ad icon becomes more famous than the parent brand. While everyone remembers the characters, no one remembers the brand. Under such circumstances no communication can get across to the consumers, and no matter how funny it is, the ad becomes a failure.
Finally a word of caution. Research by the Journal of Advertising has shown that nearly 75% of humourous adverts, out of the 238 ads they analysed used humour to mask deceptive claims. This strategy has been found to increase short-term sales, but in the long run will definitely have a negative impact on the brand reputation. 


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