Using Comedy (Appropriately) in Marketing

Comedy is a great way to sell your brand-- if you use it right. Take a moment to think about your favorite ads. What do they have in common? Chances are, the ads you remember most are funny and witty, making them enjoyable to watch and easy to remember. This easy recall is one of the reasons we market. Having your audience easily remember your content is easily accomplished by incorporating humor. As long as the humor is an extension of your brand’s voice, the content will stand out to viewers without you blatantly selling something.So how do you sneak humor into your marketing? It’s actually quite simple:

The Do’s

1. Understand Your Audience

Comedy that resonates with people is the goal... unless it resonates with middle-aged professionals and your target demographic is 18-25 year-old-girls. Then it’s a little awkward.Understanding your audience is important to begin with (as you already know), but when you’re mixing comedy into your marketing, this understanding becomes crucial. If your humor falls flat or offends your audience, then they will immediately lose interest in your company.So how do you venture into this comedic world without making any mistakes? Research, and a lot of it! Discover what television shows your audience watches. Focus on the brands and pages they follow on social media and the interaction they put forth. Knowing the interests and jokes your audiences makes online will provide you with a good understanding of where to start with incorporating humor.

2. Be More Personable

Comedy is a way to ‘expose’ your brand. You’re showcasing your brand in a new light. While this may be new terrain, remain authentic and true to your brand.Authenticity is more important than you may realize. Don’t add a humorous brand voice that doesn’t fit with your original brand voice, because your audience will notice the difference. In fact, let’s just establish this as a rule:Don’t publish content that doesn’t fit your original brand voice!Take Old Spice as an example of successfully incorporating humor into their voice. Back in 2010, Old Spice decided to change their target demographic, and consequently, their marketing strategies. Instead of targeting older generations, Old Spice decided to target boys aged 12-34. Their new voice became quirky and random, much like a teenager’s. Why this example? Old Spice has mastered adding humor (and weirdness) into their commercials, posters, and ultimately, social media: Can you see how this humor interests teenage boys? This humor is simply an extension of Old Spice's voice. Just a few posts show that Old Spice fully understands a teenage boy’s mind and isn’t afraid to get weird in order to advertise to them.

The Don’ts

1. Bring Down Others

One of the worst things you could do is insult other businesses or people in the name of comedy. You’re a business, so try to be respectful in your comedy.Businesses that tear into other businesses in an attempt to build themselves up leave a bad taste. Although it’s good to mention that this tactic can be successfully pulled off by a few (we’re looking at you, telephone networks and fast food businesses). Most likely, though, you’re a small start-up business. In order to avoid insulting other businesses and consumers (and avoid lawsuits), have your comedy approved by others before you post. It’s better to be safe, not sorry. One bad post or commercial can quickly go viral and ruin your reputation.

2. Butcher the Delivery

No one intends to mess up the delivery of a joke, but it still happens. There have been many instances where brands have an honorable intention behind a joke, but the joke still goes south. When this happens, the offending post is often screenshotted and added to an article labeled something along the lines of “Twitter Fails”. Our best advice to avoid this? Have another pair of eyes look over everything before publishing.To successfully incorporate humor into your stream of content, start small. Slowly sprinkle in a few subtle tweets and posts, building up from there. Have fun with your comedy while making it natural. If adding humor into your marketing doesn’t yield the results you were looking for (e.g. customers don’t react to it or don’t react positively), go back to your demographic research and re-evaluate the humor you’re using.