Thinking Outside the Punchline: Using Humor For Marketing Success

Posted on August 1, 2018 by Susan W

Humor marketing success

Humor is what makes the marketing world go around. Well at least in the digital marketing world we live in. Advertising is now synonymous with entertainment. And it pays to be funny…if you get it right. Thanks to the internet, social media, Youtube and all those other right at your fingertips (or earbuds) platforms, marketing professionals have to be on their advertising A game. There are a lot of marketing comedians out there selling their schtick, so to stand out in the crowd you have to know your crowd. Here are some tips to delivering a powerful direct marketing punchline:

Humor and Knowing Your Audience

Let’s say it again, “Know Your Audience.”  Rule #1 is knowing your audience and what makes their funny bones tick. It can be a tough crowd out there. There’s a fine line for some audiences when it comes to humor so make sure you do your homework. You don’t want to turn them off with distasteful or sarcastic humor that sheds a negative light on any topic. Keeping your humor real and relatable is the key to success.

Here’s an example of an edgy ad that K-Mart released a few years ago to improve traffic to their website. Their “I Shipped My Pants” ad campaign used the word shipped in place of a familiar “dirty word” sounding really similar. There were mixed feelings about the ad…some loved their creativity, some thought it was vulgar. Butt (lol we mean but) the campaign worked and KMart’s bold move paid off with increased traffic to their website

Humor Can Increase Brand Awareness and Your Bottom Line

Adding humor to your message can transform an everyday item into a memorable brand. Tickling your customers’ funny bones and converting them into sales is the best punchline ever. Insurance companies are accomplishing this with great success these days. Geico and the famous gecko spokesperson, Allstate and their Mayhem series and even Aflac and their cute little duck mascot are strengthening their individual brands. Consumers look forward to what’s going to happen in the next ads and in the long run, will contact these companies when they need insurance products.

Another household name that has improved their brand’s bottom line (you’ll see where we’re going with this in a second) is Charmin, toilet tissue. Potty talk is something usually left to the toddler-aged crowd, but Charmin took a chance and took bathroom humor mainstream in an ad campaign all about keeping your bottom clean and comfortable. Their family of cartoon bears using their favorite Charmin products bared it all and boosted Charmins’ overall brand. It’s funny too, because wasn’t there an old joke about a bear doing his business in the woods? That’s for another day.

Humor and Keeping It Really Relatable

When it comes right down to it, building a relationship with your audience is all about keeping it real with them. Today’s consumer is looking for a buying experience with a company they trust and relate to. More and more companies are using humor and storytelling as a way to engage with and relate to their audience. Humor is a universal language that can work better than any other message.

Bleach is a common household product, boring but clean, wouldn’t you say? Chlorox is the classic bleach product that has many years of trust backing it. To shake things up, they rolled out “For Life’s Bleachable Moments” campaign and used every day’s not so clean moments to make their point. One ad comes to mind when Mom walks into the bathroom and her son is mopping the floor….with the water in the toilet (was it flushed? The world may never know).

And another one where Mom comes home to Dad trying to change the squirming baby’s dirty diaper on the kitchen counter. And one more. A little boy is all dressed up in white dress pants standing in the bathroom trying to get his belt undone. He is struggling while all the while saying “Oh no! Oh no!” and eventually screams, “Mom, we have a problem here.” The ad ends with a closeup of a Clorox bottle, “For Life’s Bleachable Moments.”

Think Outside The Punch Line

Humor is a powerful element in advertising. Used strategically and in combination with other content marketing, you can transform a dull everyday product into a fun, enjoyable, and more importantly, memorable one. Thinking outside the boring box and finding clever ways to make your audience laugh is definitely a marketing plus for everyone.

Susan W keeps her target audience in mind and writes a creative, clear, thoughtful piece. She has written hundreds of news articles, newsletters, informative letters, blog posts, emails, social media posts, magazine articles, news releases, executive speeches, promotional articles, catalog copy, web site copy, headlines and radio scripts. She researches and writes SEO friendly articles, using the best writing style for the article and audience. She has a “flair” for word combinations that promote and entertain. Whether the article is “short and sweet” or “long and lengthy” Susan’s style keeps the reader engaged and interested.


Small army of writers. Big platform in the cloud.

WriterAccess is the fastest-growing content sourcing platform that makes it easy to find writers, place orders and manage the workflow, all powered by advanced tools that become your GPS for content marketing. Sign up for a risk-free offer here.

Click here to request a demonstration of our platform.
You can also call 617-227-8800 or email info@writeraccess.com

Click here to become a writer for WriterAccess.

  • Categories