Funny ads are a great strategy to attract customers. People pay more attention to a funny commercial than a serious one, which enables them to be influenced. Humorous advertising only works if the humor is appropriate for the customer and the product.
Certain products lend themselves to humorous ads more than others. These products are usually inexpensive, consumable and can be presented without a lot of facts. These products don’t need an explanation, which leaves room for humor. Products that benefit the most from humor include food, drink, candy, alcohol and toys.
Here are some tips to create a winning humorous ad:
Keep the humor relevant to the product. One example is the series of Taco Bell commercials featuring a Chihuahua that loves Taco Bell and is always saying “Yo Quiero Taco Bell.” This worked well because the Chihuahua is native to Mexico, and Taco Bell serves Mexican food. People across the country were imitating the dog, and because the message included the name of the restaurant, the message was reinforced in a relevant manner. People got in the mood for Taco Bell food just by imitating the dog!
Consider your audience’s personalities. Different things are funny to different people. One full color brochure or newspaper ad may leave one person in stitches from laughter while offending someone else. Be sure to market to your target audience. If your target audience is older, then using a funny reference to an older sitcom is okay, if you don’t mind the younger audience “not getting it.” If the younger people aren’t your target audience, you don’t have to worry about them. But, having said that, you don’t want to offend them or their intelligence either – they do have older relatives.
Don’t target your audience. Yes, you must market to your target audience, but don’t use them as targets for your humor. You want them to be on your side, laughing at people that aren’t like them or situations that they aren’t likely to be in. If you’re using brochure printing as one of your mediums, don’t feature someone that represents your audience in a humorous front page photo. You may want to use an animal, like a monkey, to represent the “other people.”
Test it out with focus groups. So because you know your target audience’s personalities, you think you know what makes them laugh? Prove it. Gather a focus group of your target audience and show them your ad, brochure printing piece, billboard and whatever else you’ve come up with. Ask them for feedback, and if any of them found the material or message offensive, you should seriously think about changing your message.
Change it up. Humor only improves brand recognition, not credibility, product recall or buying intentions. Potential consumers may become familiar with the product, but their purchasing decisions won’t be affected. Once a commercial gets old, it gets annoying. You have to be prepared for this, because this makes humorous campaigns expensive. You have to change it up by creating different ads based on the same idea. Make sure you have room in your budget before you start a humorous campaign. You can also change it up by using different mediums: television ads, radio ads, full color brochures, flyers, billboards, etc.
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In Judd Apatow’s attempt at creating a comedic drama, we’re left trying hard to figure out if this movie is supposed to be funny and what Apatow is trying to say. Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) might be the only character with any semblance of moral decency, and even then, he dates a not-so-special girl with a track record of being slutty.
Terminally ill, George Simmons (Adam Sandler), one of Hollywood’s foremost comedians, lives in a continuous state of anger and bitterness (that precedes his diagnosis), and has no real reason to be that way. Taking on Ira as a protege/assistant after meeting him briefly at an improv show, the two develop a strained relationship. Simmons alludes to an abusive childhood–an abusive father, and yet his father comes to his side and supports him during the “final days” of his illness. The glimpse we get of his mother and sister disprove his whining, and they appear to be a loving family that he has alienated. Simmons appears to be nothing more than a petulant child. Simmons’ relationship with his family undermines his own description of them; contradiction is the most apparent theme in the film.
As usual, Sarah Silverman is raunchy and unfunny, and the other cameos in the film, made by some of the finest comedians around, are all very strange. Simmons makes it clear that he has no friends, and yet he seems to have a lot of friends. Despite being in the business, all of the comedians he knows appear to be loyal, but Simmons maintains his misery by claiming to be lonely.
The plot is formulaic: Guy+Major Event (sickness) = change in guy, and Apatow tries to put in a range of characters and scenarios to induce change in Simmons, but the overall message is lost, and it appears that Simmons doesn’t change at all. By the end of the film, he hasn’t made the right decisions. Even the secondary characters are insincere and contradictory because they are so flippant. Whereas Leslie Mann (Laura) has confessed her love to Simmons during the worst of his illness, she later changes her mind calling their history “just flirtation.” She cheapens the movie, and behaves as though her family (a husband and two little girls) is expendable.
The majority of the characters are comedians, but they are arguably unfunny. Wright’s roommates, who both seem to have successful careers, add nothing to the plot. They are excessive, annoying, and even mean. Ira observes George in his state of loneliness, which should be his motivation to hold fast to good and loyal friends, and yet he lives with two jerks and dates a girl who is one-dimensional and shallow. He has surrounded himself with people who have no morals, and he even admits it in his final comedy act in the film.
At 146 minutes, the film is far too long. By minute 100, the film has literally begun to meander down a meaningless path (shots of great scenery but no substance), and settling into a state of boredom, we wonder if “Funny People” should refer to the characters’ insipidness rather than their (non-existent) humor.
While the company was excellent (Ginny is a great date) and we had a lot of fun anyway, the film is one to avoid. Even the humor is immature (penis and fart jokes get old really quickly). It is a fruitless effort to create a thoughtful, meaningful film, and fails entirely.
Our joint submissions to ezineseeker consist of reviews written by Dave and Ginny for movies recently released in theaters or on DVD or Blu-ray. The authors co-founded Buttery Toast Movie Reviews in June 2009, and all online content can be viewed at http://butterytoastmovies.blogspot.com/.