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The Connection Between Humor and Memory Recall

Humor memory recall

Have you ever remembered an advertisement or commercial from your past that still makes you smile or laugh out loud? If you think about it, you probably bought the product a few times simply because you liked the commercial. When an ad causes that kind of response, it’s because a connection has been made. One that brings a picture to your mind and connects it with a happy thought or punch line that remains embedded in your memory.

Advertisers who have learned from comedians and comic actors how to make that connection have come up with some of the best marketing campaigns in history, and there’s a lot that content marketers can learn from them.

Want to Create a Memory? Create A Visual

To establish the connection, you have to create a visual. Not just an image, but a visual that starts to tell a story, like a “forgetful guy with sticky notes all over his body.” The right visual will hold the person’s attention and make them wonder what is happening so they stay focused long enough to find out the rest of the story. Making them think about what they are seeing will plant the seeds that could later turn into a lifelong memory if the right content or advertising seals the deal.

Be Bold/Take A Risk

When you want to catch someone’s attention, be bold. Take a few risks and dare to cross a line or two. Shock factor works every time and when you include humor, it becomes a power-packed punch that will create an immediate connection. Studies have shown that humor can enhance memories, especially if the person is excited about what they are seeing.

In some cases, the best way to take a risk is to be brutally honest. Bring out the truth, especially when it comes to certain health conditions that affect Americans. We may not like to hear the truth but if we add a little humor to cut the pain, it isn’t so bad. In most cases, this type of tactic will also increase a person’s recall in terms of what they heard or saw in a product’s advertisement.

Trigger A Memory

Make customers think about the good old days. Trigger a memory that brings a smile to their face. These types of visuals will stand out because they make the customer think of happier times when things were much easier and there was less stress surrounding many of the choices that were made on a regular basis.

Triggering a memory also helps to strengthen the connection associated with a specific product. A good example of this is the Budweiser Clydesdales. Even people who aren’t all that fond of horses or beer can see a Clydesdale (with or without the big beer wagon) and will immediately remember the Super Bowl Budweiser commercials that were so popular twenty years ago.

The Funny Bone Connection

The fact is people are attracted to products that make them feel good. If an ad for a product has made them smile, laugh, snort, or chuckle, odds are they will consider purchasing it in the future. Every time they see the brand name the warm cozy feeling they felt the first time they saw a funny advertisement will begin to peak through. It may fade a little as time passes, but the connection will be there and will still make them smile when they think fondly of the product or commercial.

Humor plays an important role in our lives. We live, we laugh, and we love. We look for things that make us smile and tend to hold on to them for as long as we can. Marketing campaigns that have established a connection within our minds that triggers a memory or makes us remember something funny about ourselves or a product, often provide long-lasting results that span many years.

Even though the campaign is no longer being used, someone somewhere still knows the jingle or can describe the image that went with it. If you want to create a successful campaign, make the connection and give your customers a reason to smile–no sticky notes required.


Wendy M writes on a variety of topics with health and environmental topics being her most common subjects. She has most recently been published on both and Wendy specializes in health, fitness, diet and alternative therapy pieces.

Guest Author

By WriterAccess

Freelancer Wendy M

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