The greatest advertisements out there are ones that either pull at your heartstrings, inspire new ideas or are relatable to our everyday lives.
However, the ads that truly resonate with people and get them talking, sharing and appreciating a brand are funny ads.
Think about our relatively new “viral” culture. What kind of memes, gifs, photos and videos are the most popular that we send to our friends the most? The humorous ones. The ones that are clever, make us cackle and laugh-out-loud.
So, why are funny advertisements the most memorable, sharable and successful?
In this article, we will look into the psychology of why humor works in advertising, what goes into making an ad funny and share six hilarious ad examples to inspire your next great advertisement for your brand.
Why Humor Works?
Humor is one of the most powerful tools an advertiser has in their arsenal. It can be used to capture attention, break through the clutter and create a connection with the audience. But why does humor work in advertising?
There are actually a few reasons. First, funny ads are memorable. People are more likely to remember a funny ad long after they’ve forgotten the product it was promoting.
For example, who can forget the Budweiser frogs or the Geico gecko?
Additionally, funny ads tend to be shareable, which can help them reach a larger audience.
And finally, when done well, funny ads are simply entertaining — which is always a good thing when you’re trying to sell something.
At Wizard of Ads, we believe entertaining ads are the currency that will purchase the attention of your customer. Contact us today to start making ads that both make an impact and generate growth in your business.
What Makes an Ad Funny?
Many factors go into making an ad funny, but let’s look at it through a psychological lens.
Generally, when people see or hear a funny ad, it puts them in a good mood. This is because the ad has triggered the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.
There are also interesting theories behind the psychological effects of funny ads. We’ll go over three prominent ones that have been researched.
This theory suggests that funny ads make people feel better about themselves. The ad is essentially a way to boost their self-esteem by making them feel superior to the people in the ad.
This is done by pointing out the flaws in the people in the ad and showing how the person watching the ad is essentially better than them. By doing this, the viewer can feel good about themselves and their choices.
This theory implies that funny ads provide people relief from the stress of the day. The ad is a temporary break from the stress and allows people to laugh it off.
To achieve this, you can use funny images, funny words or a funny story. For instance, the Old Spice ad with Terry Crews elicits relief because it uses a funny story about a man who turns into a gorilla.
This theory conveys that people like funny ads because they are unexpected and don’t fit with the context of the situation. The incongruity is what makes people laugh and can be in the form of an absurd image or a funny line of dialogue.
To create this effect, you can use an unexpected image or juxtaposition in your ads such as a woman in a business suit holding a vacuum cleaner or a tough guy with a pink feather duster.
6 Funny Ad Inspirations
Now that you’ve got a better idea of why humor in ads work and the secret ingredients involved in funny marketing, let’s share some inspirational tricks of the trade.
The use of body parts in funny ads is a long-standing tradition in advertising. By exaggerating or manipulating body parts, advertisers can create funny and memorable ads that are sure to stand out from the competition.
One of the most famous examples of funny body ads is the “Got Milk?” campaign. In one ad, a man’s head is replaced with a cow’s udder, complete with milk squirting out.
This works because we see something that is not supposed to be there, and our minds immediately start trying to figure out what is going on. This funny confusion causes us to laugh, and the advertisers can get their message across seamlessly.
Some of the most famous funny ads are those that use outrageous or over-the-top statements to get their point across. These ads often have a funny or surprising twist at the end that makes people laugh.
One of the most famous funny commercials of all time was the Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” campaign. In these ads, a little old lady asks where the beef is in various fast food meals, and the burgers behind her get progressively smaller. The ads were funny because they poked fun at the other fast food chains’ tiny burgers.
This is effective because it gets people’s attention and makes them curious about what the ad is selling.
Puns and Clichés
A good pun or cliché will certainly up your potential of creating a funny ad. They are funny because they are relatable, and people can quickly understand the joke.
When used correctly, they can also be memorable, which is why they are so commonly used in advertising.
Some of the most famous funny ads out there use clichés and puns. For example, Dollar Shave Club’s “Shave Time. Shave Money” pun is simple, but it gets the point across.
As for clichés, the catchphrase “I want to make love to you like I want to eat chocolate” from the Hershey’s Kisses ad campaign plays on the cliche that chocolate is irresistible.
Optical Illusions Architecture Ads
Optical illusions alone will capture anyone’s attention, but funny architecture ads take it one step further. By adding humor to the mix, these ads are sure to get a chuckle out of viewers.
Take for example an ad from IKEA. The furniture company has incorporated an optical illusion into its design, making it look like the person is being squished by the furniture. This funny, weird ad is sure to grab attention and make people laugh.
Architects and designers have also been using optical illusions in their ads for years. One of the greatest examples of this is the Department of Public Works campaign in the Netherlands. The ads feature anamorphic drawings that appear to be 3D when viewed from a specific angle.
Using juxtapositions in your ads is when you have two things that don’t usually go together and you put them together in an unexpected way. This can be great in getting people’s attention and making them laugh.
The Kia Motors America commercial, “This or That” is a hilarious commercial that is a great example of this. In the commercial, hamsters are driving around in different colored Kia Souls to music.
This juxtaposition of hamsters and cars is funny because it is unexpected. Hamsters are usually seen as small, cute creatures and cars are usually seen as big.
This can lead to them remembering the ad long after they see it, which is obviously the goal of any advertiser.
Nothing is as entertaining as an animal that has human-like qualities or behaviors. And this is what funny ads capitalize on. These ads take something that we all recognize, like human behavior, and attribute it to an animal.
People find these kinds of ads funny because they are unexpected and random. No one expects a duck to talk like a human or a dog to type on a computer.
Take the famous Aflac commercials that have a talking duck as their mascot. The duck is funny and quirky, which makes the ads entertaining and memorable.
The same could be said for the Geico gecko. They are both animals that are doing things that we would normally expect humans to do, and this is what makes us laugh.
It’s Time to Laugh Your Way to the Bank
As you can see, advertisements that produce fun, laughter and joy in your audience make a lasting impression. They have the potential to paint a positive image of your brand that puts it at legendary status.
Humorous ads are all about intuitively knowing what will entertain your target audience and catch their attention. If you miss the mark, your funny ad will turn into a cringy ad… and nobody wants that.
Luckily, we at Wizard of Ads are here to ensure that doesn’t happen. We help businesses create hilarious, legendary ads that stand the test of time.
Contact us today to start making ads that will not only win the hearts and minds of your customers but also win you optimal profitability.