5 Funny Marketing Campaigns and What We Can Learn

5 Funny Marketing Campaigns and What We Can Learn _ MediaOne Singapore (1)

Hey there, fellow marketing enthusiast! 😄 Today, we’re about to embark on a journey through the wacky and wonderful world of marketing campaigns that tickled our funny bones.

Marketing isn’t always serious business; sometimes, a hearty laugh can be the secret sauce to a memorable campaign. So, grab your cup of tea (or coffee if that’s more your thing, we won’t judge), and let’s explore 5 funny marketing campaigns and the valuable insights they bring to the table.

5 Funny Marketing Campaigns and What We Can Learn

1. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Let’s kick things off with a classic that had everyone quoting, “Look at your man, now back to me.” Old Spice took a bold leap into humor with this campaign. They brought in the enigmatic Isaiah Mustafa, and the result? Pure hilarity and a surge in sales. What can we learn from this?

  • Don’t be afraid to be different: Old Spice dared to be unconventional, and it paid off. Embrace your brand’s uniqueness.
  • Engage with your audience: By involving viewers in the “conversation,” Old Spice created an interactive experience that resonated.

2. Dollar Shave Club: Our Blades Are F*ing Great**

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Excuse the asterisks, but we’re keeping it family-friendly here. 😉 Dollar Shave Club burst onto the scene with a brilliantly funny video that showcased their product in an unconventional way. Lessons we can take away:

  • Use humor strategically: The humor here wasn’t random; it was tied directly to the product’s value proposition.
  • Simplify your message: Dollar Shave Club communicated the benefits of their service clearly and memorably.

3. Poo-Pourri: Girls Don’t Poop

Yes, you read that right – Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray company, created a hilarious ad about a subject most shy away from. This campaign teaches us:

  • Know your audience: Poo-Pourri understood their target market and crafted a message that resonated with them.
  • Break taboos tastefully: Humor can be a great tool to address subjects that might otherwise be awkward.

4. Skittles: Taste the Rainbow – The Broadway Musical

Skittles took a unique route by staging a Broadway musical that no one could actually taste. It was weird, absurd, and undeniably funny. Here’s what we can learn:

  • Embrace the absurd: Sometimes, the most memorable campaigns are the ones that defy expectations.
  • Surprise your audience: The element of surprise can make your marketing stand out in a crowded landscape.

5. Snickers: You’re Not You When You’re Hungry

Snickers nailed it with their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign, featuring celebrities in unexpected situations. The takeaways:

  • Leverage relatable moments: Snickers tapped into situations everyone can relate to, making their message universally understood.
  • Consistency is key: This campaign has been ongoing for years, showing that humor can be a long-term branding strategy.

What Do These Campaigns Have in Common?

Now that we’ve dissected these funny marketing campaigns, let’s distill the common threads that tie them together:

  • Audience Understanding: Each campaign knew its target audience inside out, tailoring humor that resonated with them.
  • Simplicity: They kept their message clear and straightforward, even amidst the laughter.
  • Uniqueness: These campaigns dared to be different, setting them apart in a crowded marketplace.
  • Memorability: They left a lasting impression, ensuring that customers remembered their brand.

The Science Behind Humor in Marketing

To truly appreciate the power of humor in marketing, it’s worth understanding why it works so effectively. Laughter isn’t just about having a good time; it triggers a range of emotional and psychological responses that can benefit your brand.

**1. Emotional Connection: Humor helps create an emotional connection with your audience. When people laugh, they feel good, and if your brand is the source of that laughter, it can lead to positive associations.

**2. Memorability: We tend to remember things that make us laugh. Funny commercials or ads have a better chance of sticking in our minds, ensuring your brand stays top-of-mind when consumers are ready to make a purchase.

**3. Shareability: Humorous content is highly shareable. People love sharing funny videos or ads with their friends and family, which can exponentially increase your reach and brand visibility.

**4. Reduced Resistance: A good laugh can lower resistance and skepticism. When people are in a positive mood, they’re more receptive to messages and less likely to tune out your marketing efforts.

What’s Brand Perception? How to Measure It (with Examples)

Incorporating Humor into Your Marketing Strategy

Now that we understand why humor is a valuable asset in marketing, let’s explore how to incorporate it effectively.

1. Know Your Audience Inside Out:

The first step in crafting a funny marketing campaign is understanding your audience’s sense of humor. Different demographics find different things funny, so conduct market research to pinpoint what resonates with your target customers.

2. Stay True to Your Brand:

While humor can be a great addition to your marketing toolkit, it should align with your brand’s identity. For instance, if you run a healthcare brand, slapstick comedy might not be the best fit. Ensure the humor reflects your brand values and messaging.

3. Keep it Relevant:

The humor should be relevant to your product or service. A funny ad that has nothing to do with your offering might entertain but won’t drive conversions. Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” campaign worked because it directly related to their razors.

4. Be Consistent:

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If you decide to use humor in your marketing, maintain consistency across your campaigns. Snickers’ “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” has been a long-term success because they’ve stuck with it for years.

5. Test and Iterate:

Humor is subjective, and what’s funny to one person might not be to another. A/B testing your funny campaigns can help you fine-tune your approach based on audience reactions and metrics.

The Different Shades of Funny

Humor comes in many forms, and it’s essential to choose the right type for your brand and audience. Here are a few styles of humor commonly used in marketing:

**1. Slapstick Comedy: Physical humor like falls, pranks, and absurd situations can be hilarious if executed well. It’s often used in short video ads.

**2. Satire and Parody: This style mocks something familiar, like a famous movie or TV show. It’s excellent for tapping into pop culture and making your brand relatable.

**3. Wordplay and Puns: Clever wordplay and puns can be a hit with the right audience, especially if your brand revolves around language or creativity.

**4. Observational Comedy: This style highlights the humor in everyday situations, making your brand seem more down-to-earth and relatable.

**5. Absurdity: Taking things to the extreme or creating bizarre scenarios can grab attention and leave a lasting impression.

Case Studies in Humorous Marketing

Now, let’s delve into a few more case studies of funny marketing campaigns to illustrate how different approaches can yield impressive results:

**6. Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl

Doritos ran a campaign that allowed fans to create their own Super Bowl ads for the brand. Some of these fan-made ads were hilariously creative and became a hit. This campaign taught us that involving your audience in creating content can lead to fantastic and funny results.

**7. Budweiser: Whassup?

This iconic campaign from Budweiser featured friends casually greeting each other with a boisterous “Whassup?” It became a cultural phenomenon. What we can learn here is that simplicity and relatability can be incredibly funny.

**8. Squatty Potty: This Unicorn Changed the Way I Poop

Squatty Potty, a toilet accessory company, went all-in on absurd humor by featuring a unicorn explaining the benefits of their product. This unexpected approach garnered a lot of attention and helped normalize a potentially awkward subject.

Humor as a Risky Business

While humor can be a potent tool, it’s not without risks. Not every attempt at humor will land as expected. Some potential pitfalls include:

**1. Offending Your Audience:

What’s funny to one person might be offensive to another. Be cautious about sensitive topics, stereotypes, or anything that could alienate your audience.

**2. Misinterpretation:

Sometimes, humor can be misinterpreted, leading to confusion or even backlash. Test your campaigns with a diverse group to gauge their reactions.

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**3. Overdoing It:

Too much humor can overshadow your actual message. Balance is key; your audience should remember your product/service, not just the joke.

**4. Cultural Sensitivity:

Humor doesn’t always translate across cultures. If your brand operates internationally, consider the cultural context of your humor.

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Q&A: Your Burning Questions About Humor in Marketing

Q1: Is humor appropriate for all types of businesses and industries?

A1: Humor can be used effectively in many industries, but its suitability depends on your brand’s identity and your target audience. For instance, industries like healthcare and finance may need to use humor carefully, whereas entertainment and consumer goods often find humor more readily accepted.

Q2: What if I’m not naturally funny? Can I still use humor in marketing?

A2: Absolutely! You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian to use humor in marketing. You can work with a creative team, copywriters, or hire professionals who specialize in humor to craft your campaigns. The key is understanding what makes your audience laugh and tailoring your content accordingly.

Q3: How can I measure the success of a funny marketing campaign?

A3: Success metrics for funny campaigns can include engagement rates, social media shares, website traffic, and, most importantly, the impact on your bottom line (sales, conversions, etc.). A/B testing different humorous approaches can also help determine what resonates best with your audience.

Q4: Can humor backfire and harm my brand?

A4: Yes, humor carries a certain level of risk. Attempting edgy or controversial humor can lead to negative backlash. To mitigate this risk, test your campaigns with a diverse group of people to gauge their reactions. Always stay sensitive to cultural, social, and ethical considerations.

Q5: How do I find the right balance between humor and conveying my brand message?

A5: The balance between humor and your brand message is crucial. The humor should complement and reinforce your message, not overshadow it. Test your campaigns with a focus group to ensure your message remains clear while eliciting laughter.

Q6: Can I use humor in content other than advertisements?

A6: Absolutely! Humor can be used in blog posts, social media content, email marketing, and even customer support interactions. It adds personality to your brand and helps create a more engaging and relatable experience for your audience.

Q7: How can I make sure my humor doesn’t become stale over time?

A7: To avoid your humor becoming stale, keep evolving your approach. Stay current with cultural trends and be open to new comedic styles. Regularly seek feedback from your audience and adapt your humor to their changing preferences.

Q8: Are there any tools or resources for generating humorous content ideas?

A8: While there aren’t specific tools for generating humor, you can find inspiration from comedy shows, memes, and stand-up comedy. Brainstorm with your team, conduct surveys, or use online forums to gather insights into what your audience finds funny.

Q9: Can humor be combined with other emotional triggers in marketing?

A9: Absolutely! Humor can work in tandem with other emotional triggers like nostalgia, excitement, or empathy. Combining humor with these emotions can create a multifaceted and memorable marketing campaign.

Q10: What are some best practices for using humor in email marketing?

A10: In email marketing, use humor sparingly and ensure it ties back to your message or offer. Consider catchy subject lines, witty captions, or funny visuals. Test different humorous elements to see which resonate best with your email subscribers.


Incorporating humor into your marketing strategy can be a brilliant move, but it’s not without its challenges and considerations. Remember that humor should enhance your brand message, connect with your audience, and ultimately drive desired actions.

As you embark on your humorous marketing journey, keep in mind the power of understanding your audience, staying true to your brand, and testing your funny ideas. By doing so, you can create campaigns that not only engage but also entertain, leaving a lasting impression on your customers.

So, whether you’re crafting funny ads, witty blog posts, or lighthearted social media content, don’t hesitate to inject a little laughter into your marketing. With the right balance and a dash of creativity, you can make your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace and build lasting connections with your audience. Happy marketing!

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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