The CMO's Guide To Using Humor In Marketing

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The CMO's Guide To Using Humor In Marketing
If you have ever met me, even for a split-second, you know I am someone who never takes anything too seriously. Life is just way too short not to laugh along the way. So needless to say I am a huge proponent of infusing humor into marketing and advertising.


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Humor benefits to marketing materials

Humor benefits to marketing materials
  • Humor breaks down walls, shows personality a.k.a. shows a brand's human side.
  • Humor is attention-grabbing. It is naturally colorful and original.
  • People love ...


At its worst, humor is:

At its worst, humor is:
  • The wrong joke at the wrong time. It can make your brand look amateurish and unprofessional.
  • If people think you’re cracking jokes for the sole purpose of getting ...
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    Key areas to create value with humor

    • Humorous touches can almost always improve a piece that is already valuable on its own.
    • If you’re sure a joke is going to land, it can make an effective advertisement.

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    Watch out for these key threats

  • Tasteless or offensive humor. Careful with jokes abour specific group of people or sensitive subjects.
  • Bad timing.  If your brand is undergoing a ...
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    Humor in social media

    Adding humor to your social media strategy can be a great way to get people’s attention.

    If you’re not “humorizing” your brand, product or business, then you might be missing out on a ...

    5 tips to help you get started

    1. Ask yourself WWJD? (What Would Jerry Do?) Take an everyday situation and ask yourself, “What’s funny about this?”
    2. Keep it clean. Steer clear of controversial topics and jokes in bad taste.
    3. Use your wittiness to compete against big budgets. 
    4. Just because your company is serious doesn’t mean all marketing has to be. Poke fun at yourself by doing a parody of your company or your industry.
    5. The best humor comes naturally. Experiment by recording video interviews with quirky customers and employees.

    Being Funny Is a Risk

    • Some people might not appreciate your company’s brand of humor. Make sure the humor fits.
    • Being funny may not work for healthcare, financial services or any highly regulated industry.
    • Try using an online survey to test your attempt at humor against an internal audience before you send it out. 

    Humor at work

    Humor at work

    Being funny can have both positive and negative consequences, in your personal as well as your professional life. And context is always important: when making a joke, for instance, you should defin...

    Humor and its effects on the status

    Humor and status have always been tightly linked: good leaders seem to often use humor in order to motivate their team members' actions. As individuals, we tend to prefer, researchers claim, jokes that make us laugh while feeling slightly uncomfortable.

    Furthermore, we perceive the joke teller as a self-confident person, who could easily become a leader due to his or her courage to make such a joke. The key point here is that the joke should be appropriate and match the context.

    Inside jokes

    Making inside jokes usually shows how bounded a team or a group is: their jokes can understood the best by themselves.

    However, the moment an outsider integrates the group, it is better to avoid the inside jokes, as this will most probably make him or her feel out of place.

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    Anyone can use humor

    Appropriate humor relaxes an audience and makes them feel more comfortable with you as the speaker. 

    Humor can bring attention to the point you are making and help the audien...

    Developing Anecdotes

    The best and most comfortable place to find humor comes from your own personal experience. 

    Jot down funny ideas as you come across it that might appeal to your audience - an embarrassing moment that you might not have found funny at the time, or a funny conversation you had. 

    Honing the Delivery

    Make sure your choose humor is funny to you. First practice with small groups of people. Pay attention to the way your are delivering the joke or quip.

    Only use humor in a speech after you are comfortable telling it from memory and have tested it.

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