Do funny ads work?

Remember that funny ad?

Well, can you also recall what it was advertising? Let alone did it make you buy the product?

You’re not alone, judging from a study by Ace Metrix which found that “funny ads were slightly less likely to increase desire or purchase intent than unfunny ones”.

But let’s look closer. Michael Curran, the study’s author explained that “humorous ads tend to be light on informative content, which in turn creates a lower desire for the advertised product”.

Which – to say it straight – is disrespectful to the audience. Essentially, funny ads fail when they favor the “wow effect” at the expense of the “aha effect”. When they go for the laugh without going all the way to the insight.

In other words: Make your communication fun and entertaining, but do it in a way that serves your message – rather than having it steal the show.

Humour is a great way to get people’s attention. But clarity about the message must come first: What’s the point? And why should I care?

PS: Essentially, what Ace Metrix found is that funny ads do work if implemented that way.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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