Elaine Fogel

subaru-dog-commercialEvery once in a while, a TV spot or ad makes me laugh out loud. When it does, I remember it and may even share it.

That’s the case with this 2014 Suburu commercial that’s still in rotation. Its creativity and use of dogs makes it memorable and long lasting. (You know what they say about using kids and dogs, don’t you?)

According to Millward Brown, “Some form of humor is used in almost half of all TV advertising, where it often contributes to very effective ads. Humor can make ads more enjoyable, involving, and memorable.”

There’s a down side, however says the marketing and branding company. “If the humor distracts from branding and communication, …

…it can impede the ad’s effectiveness. In addition, perceptions of humor are different around the world and across different audiences; this may limit the ability of a funny ad to be used across markets.”

Did you know:

  • Humor is used more in North America than in any other region.
  • The funnier an ad is, is the more memorable it is likely to be.
  • There’s a strong relationship between humor and impact because humor can drive involvement, which drives memorability.

Some cautions:

  • Humor is subjective and often culturally specific. Types of humor that don’t travel well include mockery, parodies, kitsch, off-the-wall and dark humor, as well as humor that depends on subtleties.
  • Some humor may be perceived differently by men and women. This is especially true of scatological, violent, or sexist humor.
  • Choice of media can have a substantial influence on the effect of the humor, because humor may be perceived differently depending on whether the medium is public or private.

Although your company or nonprofit organization may not afford TV advertising, these results may be worth noting for your other marketing activities.


OK, so much for the educational content. Now it’s time to laugh. :)

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