Humor in Marketing

October 22, 2009

Image via Flickr user tallkev.

There's a fine line when it comes to using humorous copy and images in marketing. Sometimes a funny promotion can work wonders and other times, what you and your colleagues thought was hilarious will fall flat on its face with your general audience. If you've come up with a humorous promotion idea, check out these Dos and Don'ts to determine whether your joke will sell or sink: Dos Do enlist a third party: If you can, obtain rights to a third-party image, such as a New Yorker cartoon, or engage an outside artist or photographer to design an image for use in your promotion. Include the source or artists' name, and customers will recognize the cartoon or image as separate from your brand and business. It will still be funny, but there's less of a risk that you could harm your company's image in any way. Do incorporate animals: Sometimes it's easier to laugh at a joke when a dog, duck or horse is involved, and not a human. Most people sympathize with animals and using a domestic animal in a funny illustration or cartoon with a caption and headline is a great way to appeal to a wide range of customers. Keep it safe by considering humane and animal rights issues and you should have a promotion that lots of people can laugh at. Do keep the joke relevant: If it doesn't relate back to your product, service or brand then even the funniest idea imaginable can flop in a marketing promotion. Random humor may be more of a distraction from your business than a promotion. Keep the humor topical and relative to your business for the best results. Don'ts Don't force a joke: Unless you are a comedian, the funny-factor of your business promotion shouldn't be a high priority. Avoid sitting down to come up with a funny postcard, business card or flyer. If you are brainstorming and happen to discover a pun, idea, photograph or cartoon that you can use, then go for it. The best comedy is unrehearsed and happens when you least expect it. Don't joke about controversial topics: While political cartoons can be laugh out loud funny, they're not appropriate marketing vehicles. If the joke is not something you'd talk about at work or with children, then don't go there. Politics, religion and any other heated topics are no-nos for marketers. Humor that crosses the line can anger or isolate certain customers. If your not sure about an idea, then don't use it. It's best to play it safe.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

[...] Make it funny One of the greatest benefits of marketing with postcards is that they do not have envelopes and therefore do not need to be opened. This sounds simple, but for direct-mail marketers, getting prospects to even open a package is half the battle. Take advantage of the fact that prospects are already looking at your postcard promotion. Get prospects interested with something hilarious on the front side of the card, such as a comical photograph, silly comic strip or illustration or even just plain hilarious copy. Try to keep the joke relevant to your industry or what your promoting. On the reverse side, include a simple offer, such as a discount or dates for a sale. You’ll be laughing all the way to the bank! For more tips on humor in marketing check out this previous post. [...]

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