Why Humour Is the Most Successful Ingredient in Advertising - Funny Commercials

Traditional advertising focused on pitching to people's emotional needs, wants and fears; as a way to grow or instill the idea that a particular product would solve a particular problem or make life easier in a previously impossible way. These techniques often played upon our own misgivings about our lives with promises, true or false, that a particular product would "help" us. These advertising techniques have proved incredibly useful when it comes to selling products but in the last 3 decades (or thereabouts) there has been a shift within advertising towards humour based commercials and campaigns.
The key reason for this is not simply that it is a more effective selling technique; as humour is often deeply personal and hugely variable between potential demographics. Rather humour has become a key advertising technique thanks to the demographic shifts that have taken place amongst populations. In explanation of this point we have to follow the money. Traditionally the people with, what the marketing industry calls, "disposable income" were those in later life; adults, past the age of 35, with grown-up children who had left home, and a paid off mortgage. These individuals were the ones that you were most likely to sell non-necessity items to.
Now however the key demographic groups with disposable income are those aged 16-30. These groups have low outgoings, no mortgages and large amounts of disposable income. Further these groups are part of the technology revolution. They have grown up with TV, video games, the internet and smart phones. This has made them a lot savvier to advertising techniques and much less open to the emotional triggers that made up traditional advertising methods. The groups with the largest disposable incomes are the most profitable markets and advertisers have had to shift their strategies to meet the expectations and wants of these groups.
The key technique they have used is humour. A funny commercial or advertising campaign has a number of significant benefits in terms of creating purchasing power. Initially we can see that a funny commercial has the advantage of being able to disguise emotional triggers using a veil of humour. Generally we laugh at others slip ups and misfortunes and advertisers have been quick to use these to catch our attention. They form a key ingredient of humour by making us laugh on the basis that the given misfortune, or situation, is not befalling us. In the context of advertising this can be used to make light of fears whilst still using the emotional triggers that make us go - "well if I don't buy that this could easily happen to me." Of course the advertising is more sophisticated than this, but this shows the basic technique.
However, this is just one of the ways humour has proved effective in advertising campaigns. Humorous commercials also have the ability to go viral, both online and offline, and this is a huge boost to brand identity for companies. Having your advert laughed at and talked about exposes people to your products and makes them much more likely to purchase from you. These advantages have meant that humour has become one of the most successful advertising methods available and companies can ignore it only at their peril.

No comments:

Post a Comment