Strategic Marketing Article

Humour as a Marketing Tool

Jim Estill, President and CEO of Danby
Photo of Jim Estill, President and CEO of Danby Appliances

Emotion makes things memorable. Humour and laughter and smiling is a positive emotion. If you can get an audience to laugh, you will be remembered. And tying memories of laughter to your company or product is a good thing.

According to Wikipedia, there are 4 different kinds of humour:

The first one is Affiliative Humour. This type of humour is used to endear someone to you. This is what you are trying to do with all marketing humour.

But we can use all types of humour in marketing. They all create bond or connection.

Social media posts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my favourite Linkedin (connect with me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimestill/), etc. are easy to do. So easy that there are millions more posts than people can read. A marketer wants their posts to rise to the top and be read. Humour helps this to happen. Social media posts that are boring get deleted and ignored quickly.

Humour can help posts or videos go viral. The best marketing is the marketing others do for you willingly. Be funny enough, people will forward the content to other people – making posts go viral.

Too much of marketing is focused on “buy my product – buy my product – buy my product”. People quickly learn to ignore you if you do not add value. Humour is a great way to add value.

Humour can keep listeners, viewers or readers looking at your content. Part of marketing is to keep people looking at your content and humour can help this.

Beer companies are famous for funny commercials. If you want a good chuckle, just go on to YouTube and search funny beer commercials. It can make for an entertaining evening.

Many of the ads were never actually aired – they were simply put up on YouTube with the hope of going viral (and many did).

Some sample beer ads:

Ax uses the power of exaggeration (a type of humour), combined with a bit of human-attraction to create viral content. See samples:

My own company, Danby Appliances recently had some funny marketing. We saw the news channels buzzing with IHOp changing their name to IHOb. It was late Friday afternoon so we decided to do our own release.

Danby would like to buy old IHOp signs  – turn them over and change our name to dOHI. Sure enough, many people thought it was funny and started posting it and sharing it. It hit some news sites. Some people thought it was serious.

This was an example of “Following the News Buzz” – a well known technique to get press coverage. Do a press release about something that is already in the news.

Another clip from another funny press release:

Stiff Records is proud to announce first week sales figures for its latest album – Johnny Borrell’s ‘Borrell 1’ – of 594.“First week sales of 594 makes ‘Borrell 1’ the 15,678th best selling album of the year to date,” comments a Stiff spokesperson. “So far we’ve achieved 0.00015% sales of Adele’s ’21’, so we feel like it’s all to play for as we move into the all-important week two.” “We might even break the Top 100.”

Danby Appliances even went to the work of creating a web based Canadian Translator. This tool makes fun of ourselves as Canadians. People find humour making fun of yourself cool (but it is dangerous to make fun of other people). This is why fat comedians often do fat jokes. Female comediennes often make fun of women. etc.

The Sun Herald had one:

Some smaller companies like James Allen have also done well with funny ads.

Check out this wedding proposal video:

Both of those videos were part of a funny commercial video on YouTube that got over 2.5 million views!

Soda Stream joined the list of companies with funny YouTube videos. They did it on April Fool’s Day – a great day to release your funny press release or video. Check out their funny video:

Some companies even have funny names. Some on purpose – others likely not well through. Some of the ones I like:

  • Hooker Furniture in North Carolina.
  • Grayshitz Marketing in Arizona (one of the partners names is Lifshitz – I figure if he had to survive school with a name like that – may as well get some buzz from his name)
  • Butt Drilling in New Zealand
  • Master Bait and Tackle in Florida
  • Wok This Way in Ontario, Canada (and other places too)

I am certainly hoping their owners see the humour in their chosen name. And in a sense – they are benefiting now. After all, I mention them.

I intend to incorporate more humour into our marketing. Perhaps you could consider this too.

About the author

JIM ESTILL

JIM ESTILL

CEO of Danby Appliances, started his previous business from the trunk of his car and grew it to $2Billion.

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