Who's your mate?

Humour is as much a part of Advertising as the beloved starburst or product shot. During recent toilet sessions I've pondered why a brand would want to be 'that funny guy', and how Advertising can play a balancing act between Marketing and Entertainment. Here's where I'm at...

No one wants to listen to a dry faceless life-sucking rainforest-destroying multinational corporation selling them stuff - boooooring - the public are much more receptive to a friendly human guise (puppet old aged pensioner loan sharks for example). Whether the Frankenstein's monster personification is revealed explicitly or not, a brand's persona could be male or female, old or young, and just like real people they can be largely serious or playful and funny.

Comedy in Advertising can be a great way to relate with people, broach an otherwise awkward subject or just poke fun at life's little ironies. I'm sure you can think of ads that have made you laugh out loud, but also some real stinkers. One size rarely fits all. (For the record, I don't believe ANYONE finds the smarmy Money Supermarket bloke chatting shit about running with cats funny.)

So trying to make a brand/ad funny is a big gamble. On one hand if it's a good fit for your product, comes from a truth and it's well crafted you could really resonate with someone, or on the other it could crash and burn and make you look like that desperate friend of a friend trying to ingratiate themselves into the gang.

I don't have a resounding final thought on this - but would say that all too often humour, irreverence and randomness is employed to distract from a brand not having anything interesting or differentiating to say, or as fluff to pad out a very simple idea to fill a 60 second spot.

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