As a copywriter, I keep getting told to hyperniche down on one particular subject, but I’ve got no interest in only writing about iridescent unicorns with three legs that can fart the national anthem perfectly in key through a kazoo.
No, actually, that would be pretty cool!
So instead of restricting myself to one subject or sector, I decided to make my tone of voice my USP.
That USP is humour, because humour works pretty much everywhere.
WHY SHOULD YOU USE HUMOUR IN YOUR COPY AND CONTENT?
Sprinkling funny lines or references throughout blogs, articles, LinkedIn posts, or even website copy makes it so much more interesting. The audience engages with it on a deeper level; they have a positive emotional reaction to it, and they’ll associate that good feeling with your brand/product/service.
And if it makes them feel good, you can bet your ass they’re telling others about it too.
See where I’m going with this?
And on a purely selfish level, I also enjoy writing them more, which usually means that I produce my best work. I have a good time, and my client reaps the rewards of what I produce. Win-win.
EXAMPLES OF HOW HUMOUR SELLS
To try and illustrate this effectively, I’ve chosen three of my all-time favourite adverts (commercials for my international friends) and two modern examples. Some of these ads are over 30 years old, and I’m still chuckling about them now, which just goes to show how humour can really help your message stay in people’s minds. Be sure to click on the accompanying images to watch them in all their hilarious, silly glory.
So without further ado, let’s get this shitshow on the road.
THE TOP FIVE FUNNIEST ADVERTS EVER MADE
1. Orange tango (1992)
If you weren’t around when this first aired, I’ll never be able to communicate just how much uproar this ad caused. Kids in playgrounds across the country started to emulate it as fast as they could. They were slapping their mates silly, and a handful of kids ended up with burst eardrums and went deaf! The ad got pulled due to safety fears, but 30 years later, this is still one of the most notorious (and funny) ads ever made.
2. Walls Sausages (2004)
Another ad surrounded by controversy. The RSPCA complained, saying it set a poor example and promoted cruelty to animals. Ofcom cleared the ad, but the dog was discreetly removed from later ad campaigns.
This ad turns 20 next year, and it still makes me hyperventilate with laughter. The over-the-top absurdity of it is like watching a live-action Tom and Jerry cartoon, and the dog trying to tap out of the choke hold gets me every time.
3. John West Pink Salmon (2000)
This one starts off seemingly normal. The David Attenborough-esque voiceover, the tranquil setting…and then, six seconds in, it turns into the best Monty Python sketch that never happened.
I would’ve LOVED to be a fly on the wall for this marketing meeting.
- So, any ideas?
- How about a man in waders kicking a bear in the knackers?
- Tear rolls down cheek, standing ovation
Watch. Laugh. Never look at a bear the same way ever again.
1. Fosters – Good Call (2010 – 2015)
These ads were so successful that they drove a 70% sales growth between 2010 and 2013, making Foster’s the UK’s biggest-selling beer brand in UK supermarkets and off licences. This series of ads featured two Australian agony uncles answering the various problems of British men. They’re also the reason why I now say hooroo instead of goodbye.
There’s a whole series of these to choose from, but as an IPA drinker, the humour in this one resonates with me the most.
5. Ikea – The Wonderful Everyday (2022)
The IKEA marketing team has been knocking it out of the park for the past few years. It’s probably a toss-up between them and the ALDI Twitter team for the most memorable marketing of recent years (Cuthbertgate, anyone?).
But where IKEA really excels is by mixing humour with tenderness, empathy, and a subtle understanding of how their products can really help people in everyday settings. It never feels pushy; it never feels forced or tacked on. Every Home Should Be a Haven is an extremely clever ad, combining all of these elements together to make something very sweet, that resonates for a long time with anyone with a young family who sees it.
Safestyle UK (1999-2006)
This one gets a mention for being unintentionally funny. Double glazing isn’t exactly the most sexy and glamorous product to advertise, so how do you make your windows and doors stand out from the crowd? Answer: A balding bloke from Burnley wearing a Tudor-era cloak, of course.
Incredibly irritating, cringeworthy, and shot on a budget of about 4p, this series of ads somehow ran for 7 years and made Safestyle a fortune. They even managed to rope in Coronation Street’s Reg Holdsworth for a few of them. But despite how shoddy the production, script, acting, etc. was, it’s 23 years later, and I can still tell you Safestyle UK’s phone number off by heart. I can’t do that with my own phone number. Safestyle, I salute you for trying something different.
NEED SOME HUMOUR IN YOUR COPY AND CONTENT?
If you’ve been inspired by what you’ve seen and want to inject your copy and content with some much-needed humour, then get in touch. I especially love the challenge of taking something that’s considered dull, straight-laced, or po-faced and giving it a humorous spin.
Hit the button below to book a FREE 1:1 chat with me, and let’s discuss how we can make humour the driving force of your brand.