Which types of humour sell which products in advertising?

This article looks at the types of humour that can be used effectively to sell products and which types of products they are most commonly suited to.

Humour has become one of the most successful advertising tools and it is used in a variety of forms to attract the largest numbers of customers for a particular product or service. Targeting your humour of your target audience is essential to the success of any funny campaign and in this article we’re going to look at the types of humour and what they are most suited to selling.

Farce
Farce uses severe exaggeration to create improbable situations out of seemingly normal situations. This type of humour is used most effectively to sell products which serve to overcome typical problems many individuals face such

Dark
Dark humour generally makes a joke out of unpleasant situations or possibilities that many of us may fear or dread. It is used most effectively in advertising to sell personal products such as beauty products and also necessities. Dark humour often is used to simulate a potential pitfall that may befall someone who doesn’t use X product on or for themselves.

Screwball
Screwball humour works by using misunderstandings and mistakes that then serve as an opening for comic interaction. An example of this could be a misheard conversation or a complete misreading of a situation. This has been used in a variety of advertising avenues most of which centre around home and personal life. It is an effective device for creating a problem that a product can solve.

Slapstick
Slapstick humour generally involves physical interactions as epitomised in the movies of Charlie Chaplin. It uses elements of farce and “accidental” incidents to create humorous situations. This is not a common technique used in advertising, though it crops up occasionally in adverts trying to create a funny and cool brand image.

Parody
Parody makes fun or mocks reality to create comedy by twisting well known scenes or information. It is used very effectively in advertising to disguise the actual product or situation – making people think one thing is happening when in fact it is another. Possibly the most memorable example of this was the Darth Vader cough sweet commercial.

Satire
Satire is the most commonly used form of humour – both in advertising and across all mediums. It is basically the activity of making fun of human follies and foibles through ridicule and exposition. This is incredibly effective in advertising humour as it allows products to demonstrate why you should have them through exposing human follies and foibles that the products can solve. Most humorous advertisements use satire in combination with other forms of humour to maximise its impact.

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