Funny Ads Don’t Always Work? (r u kidding?)

October 16, 2006

I love MarketingSherpa. And this short blog entry called Research Data on Ads People Love vs Ads That Work is interesting.

Anne Holland’s point is that funny doesn’t always lead to effective (increased purchases) in advertising. She backs that up with some research results and then finishes with

No one’s gut — neither your creative team’s nor end consumers’
— can tell you which ads will really work. Only testing can.

Which, pretty much sums up my entire marketing philosophy.

And that is fine. Except she could have said this as well:

Ads aren’t typically used as sales tools as much as to create awareness.

People will only buy what they feel meets their needs. What meets their (perceived) requirements. However, if the research on emotions is at all accurate, humor could play a role in creating a positive attitude about brands. An attitude that consumers will then try to rationalize with other “facts.”

I guess I agree that testing is the only way to know – but it seems that so few companies are interested in testing these days. Even when i showed a large b2b prospect how they could almost positively improve revenues with multivariable testing, they balked at the effort (and costs – which would all be recouped).

So then what? Well, it’s true. You are guessing a bit on what will be successful. However, I am not as ready to dismiss the “entertainment” factor from advertising. I think it’s a part of what makes YouTube, myspace, and the like so successful.

Should you test? Yes. Should you dismiss humor – no.

Unless you’re a big stick in the mud anyway. In that case, you never had any humor to dismiss.


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