Humor is a funny thing. But does it sell?

What a great discussion to have in a world that could use a smile or two.

At Creative Department we believe the value of humor in advertising remains under appreciated within the marketing community. Humor can be bold, confident and memorable, and we’ve never been afraid to give it a go. We’ve leveraged humor in campaigns for a local bakery, a crystal barware manufacturer, and a scrap metal recycling company. And it works hard to gain attention for these clients.

Magda Kay, in her Psychology for Marketers blog, raises some great points about using humor to connect consumers to marketers. She sites examples such as the super funny Dollar Shave Club “Our blades are #@%$* great” awareness campaign, which happened to garner 10 million views online. That’s a lot of views. And you can bet that happened because the target loved the irreverent humor, and shared the campaign liberally.

Magda states “The reason why many advertising and marketing experts suggest you do use humor, is because it’s fundamental to forming positive relationships. We buy from companies we like, and humor is the easiest and fastest way to get there.”

In other words, using humor makes your brand seem friendly, human, and accessible. And when you’re dealing with people these are generally good things. Of course, there are occasions where humor just isn’t right, but we don’t have to tell you that. Some experts warn that there’s a risk that the humor overwhelm the message, and you won’t recall the brand, but we believe true examples of that are rare.

Magda also offers an important thought on the “selling” aspect of a campaign: “Any campaign you work on has the objective of selling. But if you break down the process, sales never come first. You have a list of steps your prospects need to go through before they are ready to see the offer.” Here’s the link if you’d like to read her post in full.

Overall, we completely agree with Magda. We believe that using humor, when appropriate, gives a brand an instant edge in creating memorable, effective advertising. And maybe the campaign will get millions of shares, like Dollar Shave Club.

So, perhaps the question should be, “Does humor entertain, engage, and ultimately lead to sales?” We believe the answer is yes.


Here are a few examples of Creative Department humor.