Humor: Risky or Valuable
Your Marketing?

Humor in marketing is everywhere these days, even if you don’t immediately recognize it as marketing. But can humor truly help your marketing or are the potential risks too high? In this month’s blog, we’re diving into ‘how to’ along with the pros and cons of using humor in marketing.

How to Use Humor

First of all, consider your goals. What is it that you want the content to accomplish? Your marketing content should directly reflect what your goal is. Some potential goals include:

  • Brand awareness
  • Increase in product sales
  • Engage with customers or increase current engagement levels
  • Drive traffic
  • Generate new leads

Once you have figured out the marketing goal, you need to pick your content guideline. This means keeping your content in one of three categories: memorable, shareable, or relatable. 

  • Rememberable refers to marketing content that sticks in the minds of the audience: Does your content grab the attention of your target audience?
  • Shareable focuses on whether your content moves your audience to action: Does your content make your audience want to share it? Do they want other people to see and understand what they saw?
  • Relatable focuses on everyday situations that your audience might be able to relate to: does your content make your audience feel understood?


From a physiological standpoint, humor is an emotional response that starts with our brains in the limbic system. The limbic system focuses on emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, and anger. Marketing is often based on this limbic system response: we wish for our customers or potential customers to associate positive emotions with our product or brand. It helps kindle positive emotions in our audience and creates positive brand perception. When our audience is laughing and enjoying our content they are going to want to come back because of those positive emotions that they associate with our brand – or at least to see what funny thing we say next!

Humor is also a great way to capture the attention of your audience. Humor has a way of drawing people in and making them interested in what you have to say. Once you have drawn your audience in, they are more likely  to sit through informational material. 

A great example are the commercials produced by Geico and Progressive. But if those aren’t your favorite, choose any comical commercial you’ve seen recently and ask yourself the following: Did they utilize humor? If they did, how did that make you feel? Were you okay sitting and watching the commercial or did you find yourself getting impatient? How many times did you see the commercial before you became sick of it? 

Using humor allows even the most informational content to feel less dry and makes it easier for the audience to absorb the content. The funnier or more emotional the commercial is, the more likely it is that their interest will be caught. The same goes for any type of marketing. Adding humor to your social media, email marketing, billboards, and more, will not only catch the attention of your audience but make them more willing to finish reading through your content to see what it’s about.

Humor in marketing can help increase the connection your target audience has with your content. Not only can it make them read through the material but they may be drawn to action as well. And we all know, the more eyes on your content, the better for your brand! 


Of course, there are concerns with using humor in any type of advertising as well. For starters, everyone has a different sense of humor. Paying attention to and knowing your audience is vital to ensuring that any humorous attempts will not backfire with your target audience.

Another risk with humor is coming across as immature or attention-seeking. For certain companies, there is a risk of lacking the required seriousness that goes with their profession. In these cases, you need to know your company and your brand tone. This will help you to determine if your tone is incompatible with humor.

The last caution is to make sure that your use of humor does not make your brand come across as attention-seeking. Attention-seeking humor might be perceived by the intended audience as awkwardly used or fake. Don’t try to force it. Humor is something that people enjoy when it feels genuine and well placed. Make sure you are building a relationship with your audience and connecting with them before cracking too many jokes. 

When using humor there is always a fine line between just right and too much. The margin for error is huge which is why it can be a riskier practice for your marketing. Using humor to enhance your marketing strategy is better than making it the strategy.

In Summary

Overall, humor is an incredibly effective tool for marketing. But like with most things, you need to be aware of when and how to use it. As a brand, you need to know who you are, who your target audience is, and if humor would match well with both.

Looking for guidance on your brand voice and what type of humor to use? Reach out to your local marketing partner for help:

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