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Why is Humour so Effective in Marketing?

Sam O'Reilly
18 November 2016 11:23

Marketing with humour is one of the most effective ways of marketing online.

You might be wondering, 'Why is humour so effective in marketing?'. Even if you're not, I'm going to tell you anyway.

Lower your audiences defences

Using humour lowers people's defences. People are often sceptical when it comes to advertising. Using humour correctly when marketing to them will help to reduce that initial scepticism and will make them more open to hearing your message. 

There is a study from Nielsen that shows which messaging themes 'speak the loudest' to customers. Here is a quote from their article: 'Humour resonates more strongly in Western markets. It tops the list of most appealing message types in Europe and North America'.

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Use Different Humour for Different People

One of the most important things to think about when marketing your product or service is the demographic of your customers. There are studies which show that younger audiences have a preference for content with more of an entertainment factor that will keep them engaged. A great tool that you can use if you want to market towards a younger demographic is Humour. This doesn't mean that humour is only effective for a younger demographic, everyone loves to laugh!

Different demographics of customers have different senses of humour. This has been proven in a study undertaken by Jennifer Stanley, a psychology professor at the University of Akron. She had a focus group of 30 young adults, 22 middle aged people and 29 senior citizens watch a selection of different sitcom videos that include different types of humour.

The outcome of the study shows that the older people were much less likely to enjoy 'aggressive' style of humour (laughing at the expense of others). People aged 64-84 found the clips with aggressive humour 23% less funny than the middle-aged people did and 19% less funny than the 17-21-year-olds did. Younger people were more likely to enjoy self-depreciating humour (laughing at yourself) than the middle-aged and senior citizens. Older people enjoyed affiliative humour (Humour that brings people together through funny/awkward situations) the most.

Now you know more about your demographic, using humour in your marketing should be a lot easier.

Keep your humour simple

Remember, you need to keep it simple. Simple humour works best. If people have to stop to think about it, it loses it's effectiveness.

Check out some examples of businesses that used humour really effectively in their marketing.

John Lewis 'Christmas Advert 2016 - #BusterTheBoxer'

John Lewis is a chain of department stores that operate thorough the UK. 

John Lewis's newest christmas advert is a great example to show how you can use humour to market towards everyone! It is clear who they are marketing towards, with the humour they use and their slogan, 'Gifts that everyone will love'. John Lewis really hit the nail on the head with the way they used humour in their marketing. The animals jumping on the trampoline is humour that most people will enjoy. It is easy to understand and not offensive. 

It's clear to see that their marketing works. The video already has over 7 million views on YouTube and was trending worldwide on Twitter. (From November 2016) 

Razer on Twitter 

Razer make Entertainment Devices and Software For Gamers.

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The demographic that Razer market towards is young adults with an interest in gaming. Their marketing on Twitter really shows this. There are often posts with short and witty humour and funny images GIFs, like 'banana for scale.'. This humour is easy to understand and is targeted really well towards their demographic. They also get a lot of interaction with their customers on Twitter and their posts get shared a lot. 

Keith Brymer Jones 'Rolling Clay with Keith'

Keith Brymer Jones sells designer contemporary ceramic tableware, bucket mugs and contemporary designer homeware.

(His website is pretty cool)

Keith made this hilarious music video parody of Adele's 'Rolling in the deep' as a promotional video for his business. The feedback that he received was very positive.

The use of humour in the video helped to encourage the viewers to share it. The video went semi-viral with over 250,000 views, which is a very large number for a smaller business with only 500 subscribers on YouTube. 

Getting started using humour

This all sounds excellent, but how you do you get started? Firstly, it's important to recognise whether humour is appropriate. Following this, it's best to just start writing - all good content starts with good writing.

Story writing can be an effective and popular means of creating humour and throughout the process, it's important not to 'over analyse' your humour with committees of marketing staff. 

Can we help? 

If you'd like to chat further, or just run your jokes past one of our team, do not hesitate to get in touch.