With the Super Bowl still looming in the rearview mirror, people are talking about…what? Deflate Gate? Who won, fair and square?


More likely, they’re still talking about the commercials. Which was the best? Which was funniest? Blogs are already up, listing the ads from best to worst, with commentary on why they’re the best. All of the commentary is correct, because opinions are never wrong. But there is a science to it all. The psychology behind using humor in marketing is the reason we’re still talking about the brands today.

Why does humor work so well? Why do the funny commercials make the news while the rest fade into obscurity? Let’s consider a few facts.

Brand Recognition

Creating humorous marketing materials doesn’t just happen overnight. Before you can make a single move, you must consider your brand. If your campaign doesn’t match your current brand voice or support your message, it doesn’t matter how hard people laugh. They might remember the what, but they won’t remember the who.

However, if your commercial, blog, or tweet fits your brand, you’ll elevate yourself in consumers’ eyes. The seamless connection between brand and marketing will make your brand more recognizable, memorable, and likeable. Why?

Memorable Moments

Studies show that humorous ads stick with us longer. Not only do we recognize the brands with the funniest commercials, but we also remember the specific products. Let’s do a little experiment. I’m going to describe a commercial, and you try to remember the brand or product. Ready?

1. There’s a nerdy guy in a suit and a cool guy in a hoodie…

2. There’s a vocalist singing for all he’s worth about “Real Men of Genius” while a serious voiceover actor describes the fashion-forward jort-wearing male.

3. There’s a guy and his friend, Joe Pesci, chatting up girls at a party, and Mr. Pesci is a cranky, judgmental jerk. Apparently, he’s just not himself when he’s hungry.

Of course, this may have mixed results based on readers’ ages, but the point is clear. If the ad made you laugh, you remember it even now.

Move at the Speed of an Inside Joke

The problem with a cultural phenomenon is that people tire of the joke quickly. Does anyone actually say “Whazzzup!” anymore? Nope. Because the laughter turns to irritation in a relatively short amount of time. What does that mean for your marketing efforts?

If you plan to use humor, you have to move quickly. Even before your first campaign goes out, you should have your next one ready. If you let the laughs languish too long, you’ll lose any goodwill you’ve generated.

Remember, too, that what you think is hilarious might be offensive to others. Before you put anything out there to represent your products or services, make sure you’ve sought the opinions of several people.

As always, we’re here to help. If you have any questions about branding, creating campaigns, or making people laugh, we’re your guys.

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