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The CMO's Guide To Using Humor In Marketing

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. Test variations of the joke with a small audience first; that way, you can be sure the humor doesn’t cross a line.
  • Brand differentiation. For example, Oreo has long differentiated itself by offering a quirky, tongue-in-cheek voice across its social media platforms. This is especially effective in dry, or otherwise “boring” industries.
  • Personal branding. Elon Musk, for example, has separated himself from his companies Tesla and SpaceX by cracking jokes and roasting people on his own account.

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The CMO's Guide To Using Humor In Marketing

The CMO's Guide To Using Humor In Marketing

https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2018/06/15/the-cmos-guide-to-using-humor-in-marketing/

forbes.com

4

Key Ideas

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 to spread laughter.  Making your campaign humorous will ensure it is shared more.
  • Any message imbued with humor will be easier for your target demographics to remember.

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 more attention, you’ll be seen as exploitative rather than funny.
  • Humor can cheapen certain ideas or make them be taken less seriously.
  • In some cases, humor can be outright offensive.
  • 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. Test variations of the joke with a small audience first; that way, you can be sure the humor doesn’t cross a line.
    • Brand differentiation. For example, Oreo has long differentiated itself by offering a quirky, tongue-in-cheek voice across its social media platforms. This is especially effective in dry, or otherwise “boring” industries.
    • Personal branding. Elon Musk, for example, has separated himself from his companies Tesla and SpaceX by cracking jokes and roasting people on his own account.

    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 PR crisis, or if there’s a natural disaster about to hit your city, people aren’t going to want to read your jokes.
  • Brand misalignment. If your brand is one that takes itself seriously or appeals to people who prefer stoicism to levity, you won’t be served by including more humor in your campaign. 
  • You can also face backlash if you try to use a running joke or meme without fully understanding it.
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    3. Use your wittiness to compete against big budgets. 
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    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. 

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    Developing Anecdotes

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    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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