How To Use Humor In Advertising


Humor can be an effective tool for advertisers to win the attention of their audience. But what’s the most effective use of humor in advertising?

Tom Wanek, here, and you’re watching Wizard Marketing TV, where business owners learn persuasive tools and techniques to spark miraculous growth.

If you create ads that entertain with humor, stay tuned. I’ll share THE biggest mistake when using humor in advertising. I’ll see YOU on the inside.

Advertisers have long realized that humor can pierce the enormous clutter of advertising. This insight is incredibly valuable since it’s also well-known that the human brain anticipates and ignores the predictable.

But persuasion is more than just capturing the attention of your audience. Much more.

What happens when you rely too heavily on all that is cute and clever?

Your ad will fail to persuade, pure and simple.

See, without a whiff of relevancy, people will recall that your ad was funny, but they will never remember your message or the product your ad was intending to promote. Relevancy is the almighty filter used by the human brain to discount that which is unimportant.

My partner, Roy H. Williams, sums it up brilliantly, “Never use humor that doesn’t reinforce the principal point of your ad.

Here’s the litmus test: If remembering the humor forces you to recall the message of the ad, the humor is motivated. Good job.

But if recalling the humor doesn’t put you in memory of the ad’s main point, the humor is unmotivated and will make your ad less effective. Sure, people will like the ad. They just won’t buy what you’re selling.”

Everybody loved the “Yo quiero Taco Bell” dog. So cute and funny. But did those ads increase taco sales?

Nope. The ads may not have done anything for Taco Bell’s bottom line, but they sure sold the bejeezus out of Chihuahuas.

But how about those Super Bowl ads? Surely these ads bring excitement, comedy and sex appeal to a whole other level?

According to a 2014 report from, eighty percent of the commercials aired during the past two Super Bowls didn’t compel consumers to buy the product being promoted.

The report when on to conclude that viewers of Super Bowl ads can better recall ads aired during the Super Bowl, but were less successful in identifying the brand being promoted.

Okay, so how do we effectively apply humor to advertising?

Here’s an example of humor reinforcing the principle point of an ad. Watch this video:

Now, full-disclosure: I edited the video you just watched to cut down and tighten up the front end. In my opinion, the original spot was tedious and took too long to develop.

Nonetheless, the Dirt Devil commercial gives you a terrific example of the proper use of humor in advertising.

The bottom line: A clever ad that lacks a clear message will not work. Clever ads fail to persuade anybody of anything, except that “Company X sure makes some crazy ads!”

Don’t ever mistake a crazy, likable ad for one that persuades and moves the gosh darn sales curve upward.

Always remember: Your #1 mandate is to convince your customers to buy from you. And a message absent of relevancy can never persuade.

Now Marketing Wizards, did you like this video? Then do me a HUGE favor … please subscribe and share it with peeps all across the YouTubes and the Interwebs.

And let me hear from you. Send in your marketing and advertising questions. Hit me up at, and I’ll give you an answer right here.

And remember, we’re in this together. I’ve got your back. I’ll see you real soon.

The 7 Most Common
Credibility Killers In Marketing
Simply enter your name and email to get your FREE download

Leave A Comment...