Stand Up To Stand Out: How Comedy In Advertising Makes You More Competitive

Big brands are becoming increasingly big jokers.

Comedy and advertising are like two peas in a pod. Create something funny and it will be beloved. Shared on social media, talked about with friends, parodied on YouTube, the possibilities are endless. The more times your ad is shared and talked about, the more times your message is received and understood by your audience and people in general.

Take Specsavers, for example. Any time anyone fails to notice that lamppost before they walk into it, a generally hilarious thing to say since the last decade has been “Should have gone to Specsavers.” The brand has produced ad after ad around this phrase, championing awkward moments borne from the optically-challenged shopping anywhere but Specsavers.

Featuring big names, the ads range from the risqué with a naked man relaxing in Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen to the loveably silly aerobics instructor who mistook a nursing home for her fitness class. Part of the reason that adverts are so funny and work so well is because the phrase has become part of the public lexicon.

The joke almost is the catchphrase.

Humour me

Comedy can be a great way for your brand to build an affinity with your audience by connecting with them on an emotional level through advertising, rather than constantly spieling sales pitches and product jargon at them. It can also be more effective as a means of keeping your audience’s attention if you opt to entertain rather than inform or pitch.

Woo your audience with comedy. Get somebody laughing and you get them relaxed; get them relaxed and they’re more open to suggestion: whatever it is that you are selling. That said, comedy is arguably not the best way to make a hard sell. It’s more about building your brand’s recognisability and establishing your persona in the minds of your audience. Become the first thing they think of when this particular situation arises or relate to their problems with a hilarious parody of their circumstances.

How can SMEs compete with big brands’ exposure and recognisability?

The problem with big brands is that they have to try to be all things to everyone. Smaller companies are more about forging personal connections with niche audiences. Large companies are bound by regulations within their own organisations, restrictions set out by TV channels and advertising authorities and, all importantly, the cold scrutiny of the general public.

SMEs may not have access to the big budgets enjoyed by marketing departments in large organisations or the exposure afforded by nation-wide television and billboard campaigns. But smaller companies do have one advantage: the public in general wants to like you. The British public want to support local business, putting back more money into the local economy and building personal relationships with people in their communities.

Already you have an advantage, on a personal level at least, in your local market.

Use humour and get ahead

Use humour and comedy in your advertising to build on these foundations. You might not be able to be everything to everyone, but the use of humour in your advertising can broaden your reach and improve your brand’s recognisability. Humour enables you to relate to wider audiences while still focusing on your niche.

Social media is where ideas spread and people connect about things they find emotionally stimulating – and hilarious. Twitter does you this massive favour by showing you what’s trending where you are right this second. Take the opportunity to jump in on conversations that are relevant to your business. Offer your opinion; be humorous with your insights; be flippant in your responses.

Develop a persona and use it on your leaflets, business cards, website and blog. Use humour and personality to connect with your audience. People don’t want to be marketed and sold to: they want to be entertained. If they get something out of that, like information about a great product or service they had never previously heard of, then everyone wins.

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