What’s the funniest ad you’ve seen for a brand? Now, have you ever stopped to think why the ad was funny?
According to some academics, there are three leading explanations or theories about what makes us laugh: Relief, superiority, and incongruity. Let’s take a look at an example of each.
First, relief theory, which is when humor is used to diffuse awkward or threatening situations like in this Snickers ad.
Next, superiority theory. This theory of humor results from us laughing at the misfortune or discomfort of others. Take a look at this Berlitz ad about the German Coast Guard to see what I mean.
And lastly, there’s incongruity theory, which is when your brain is set up to believe that one thing will happen, but then something else happens instead that still fits within the context. Check out this Hardee’s ad for an example.
I’m sorry for that last one. Nothing gets me like wordplay and bathroom humor.
Having a sense of humor is half the challenge, but being funny for the right reasons can be a challenge for brands. We wanted to know what it takes to successfully leverage laughter as a part of an effective marketing strategy, so we reached out to Lianna Patch, the owner of Punchline Conversion Copywriting, to ask her a few questions about being in the funny business.
Watch the video above to hear Lianna answer these questions:
What’s the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen? How did it change or strengthen your impression of the brand? What funny ad fails have you seen and why did it miss the mark in your mind?
Share your thoughts in the comments might just win yourself some new Brandish Insights gear.