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A Very Serious Blog About Humor Writing in Marketing

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A Very Serious Blog About Humor Writing in Marketing

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Hello. This blog will contain no jokes.

This will be an extremely serious examination of how to utilize the concept of “humor” to market your business. Personally, I was against this blog. Like most people, when I encounter humor, I become physically ill. Violently ill. If I accidentally flip to the comics page of the newspaper, bile creeps into my throat. When my grandchild says “knock knock, gwandpa,” I disown them. I once sat next to noted humorist “Larry Seinfeld” on an airplane and spent the rest of the flight in the lavatory, for a few reasons.

However, the “higher ups” at KARMA jack insisted that humor writing in marketing is essential. After a lengthy legal battle, I was forced to acquiesce. So, now I must act on my supervisor’s note to “do my f***ing’ job.” However, I will do it my way and not stoop to using “jokes,” “goofs” or “yuk’em’ups” to convey the point I was forced to make.

The (Theoretical) Benefits of Humor Writing in Marketing

According to some (mostly discredited) marketing specialists, “humor” can add a few effective qualities to your writing in marketing:

  • It’s Attention-Grabbing. Most people see around 5,000 ads per day. If you’re anything like me, most of the ads you see are for metamucil and uncomfortable chairs. So, humor can help your ad stand out from other, more serious (read: better) marketing and advertising attempts.
  • (Some) People Love to Share Laughter. Once again, when I hear a joke, I enter a fugue state. When I come to, I have to hear about what I did on the news. But apparently, others enjoy sharing humor with one another. So, if you make something that’s independently funny/enjoyable, there’s a chance someone might share it on its own merit, spreading your message further.
  • Humor Humanizes. Funny brands are more relatable and are seen as more trustworthy and human. Personally, I harbor no love for humanity, but if that’s your thing, fine.
  • Humor Helps People Remember. In 2013, some hack scientists performed a study:Participants were divided into two groups; neutral and dysphoric. Both groups viewed humorous video clips which included displayed words and were asked to recall as many words from the videos. Findings showed that both groups had higher recall of words. Thus, the enhanced memory due to humor or humor effect can occur not only to individuals in a neutral mood, but also those in dysphoric mood.” This basically means that people have a higher recall when humor is involved, even if they’re horrifically depressed. While it pisses me off that America’s scientific resources were wasted on a study like this, I suppose you can’t argue with the results.

The Downside of Humor Writing in Marketing

Okay, now we’re cooking with gas! Here’s how humor can (and will) ruin your advertisements.

  • The wrong joke at the wrong time can make your brand look unprofessional. I personally know this to be true. Back in 1929, when I was starting out in the advertising world, I decided to run this ad: “Our prices are falling faster than the guys leaping off the stock exchange!” Big mistake.
  • People can smell insincerity. If they suspect you’re using “humor” as a tool to sell them something, people are immediately turned off. So, if you’re cracking jokes for any reason other than a disgusting need for attention, cut it out!
  • In some cases, humor can be offensive. See above re: Stock Exchange.

Opportunities For Humor Writing in Marketing

I can see I’m not going to be able to talk you out of stooping so low as to “bring someone joy.” So, the most I can do is direct you as to where humor can do the least damage:

  • Accent your voice. If you have products that already add value to your brand, like an article, ebook or lead magnet, humor MIGHT be appropriate.
  • Well-tested, effective ads that have zero chance of failing. If you’re absolutely positive that a joke is going to land, it could possibly make an effective advertisement. Just make sure to AB test variations of the joke. Like a (gulp) stand up comedian at a (barf) open mic. Once you have simulated humor effectively and tested it into the ground, it should be ready for the internet.
  • Brand differentiation. I know this sounds weird, but some business owners are legitimately insane and want to “stand out.” They think that by having a tongue-in-cheek brand voice, people might “like them more.” I don’t know about you, but back in my day, businesses didn’t have personality. They were faceless behemoths who would love nothing more than to crush a small town for its natural resources. The good old days. Whatever. I guess humor could work if you want people to “use your product or service.”

The Very Real Threat of Humor Writing in Marketing

Apart from “the complete dissolution of every ideal we hold dear,” humor can pose some other risks to your business. Such as…

  • Tasteless or offensive humor. By my reckoning, this constitutes “all humor.” So, be careful not to cross a line or make a joke about a specific group. The good rule of thumb is to think “could anyone’s feelings be hurt by this?”
  • Bad timing. You’ll also want to carefully consider the timing of your posts. For instance, if your company is still recovering from an off-color market crash joke, don’t run an ad that says “Our prices are sinking faster than The Lucitania!” What I’m saying is there’s no need to be funny during a national tragedy (or ever).
  • Off brand messaging. If you’re a successful company, your brand identity should be “monolithic terror.” So if you appeal to decent people who prefer stoicism to enjoyment, you won’t be served by including humor in your campaign.

If I Had My Way, Humor Wouldn’t Be a Part Of Human Society

I don’t need humor in my world, or in my advertisements. I’m perfectly happy with my life as it is: I wake up at 1:00 AM in a cold sweat screaming “FATHER” for some reason. Then, I go to the office and sit at my desk for 12 hours and no one talks to me. Then I come home to my enormous, empty house, sit in my uncomfortable chair and stare at the wall until I fall asleep. It’s a good life.

However, I am once again, legally obligated to tell you that humor has its place when writing in marketing. If you have any questions, call KARMA jack Digital Marketing and tell them Eustace sent you.

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