8 Ads that will make you burst out laughing

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The use of humour can be a great way to connect with your consumer, but you have to make sure that the laugh is connected to the main message you are trying to convey. A misplaced laugh does nothing really–yes, it can attract attention–but they are usually the ads we forget what brand name the ad is for. Humor can help articulate the insight or it can be a great way to demonstrate the experience the brand helps address. Humor can also differ over time, across different geographies or demographics. Some of the best humour is when only the target market gets the jokes. Skittles ads are hilarious for teenagers, but anyone above 35 years old just looks at those spots with total confusion.

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At Beloved Brands, we believe that Marketing Execution combines Branded Breakthrough (how you say it) and Moveable Messaging (what you say). Taking this one step further, the execution has to break through the clutter (Attention) and link closely to the brand name (Branding). The execution must communicate the main message (Communication) and makes brand seem different (Stickiness). Feel free to use our ABC’S model when judging the Marketing Execution that gets presented to you.


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Here are seven ads that will make you laugh out loud:


Berlitz “What are You Thinking about?”

When I show this ad to an executive training classes, it usually generates one of the biggest laughs. Most of us when trying to learn a language start to learn the basics of the language and rarely get past the point where it becomes useful.  Strongest on Communication, this ad really hits that insight, by taking a very important moment and showing how the coast guard can’t even save a life when it’s obvious to us all. As it gets shared around social media, it strengthens on Stickiness. 


Zazoo Condoms

I remember when I worked on Child Cereals, we used to do focus groups with 5 and 6 year olds taste-testing new Lucky Charms and Trix. I used to refer to it as “birth control for brand managers” Loading a kid up with sugary cereals for 2 hours ends up with kids that seem like this kid.  This ad was done as people were just starting to email ads around and it was an early favourite.  Now we see the power of YouTube for showcasing funny ads. This ad sure gains Attention, but a little weak on branding specific mainly because there is no separation of the brand from others.  My guess is that Zazoo did not see a share bump. 


ESPN “Michael Jordan”

Perfect humour for the serious sports fan target market of ESPN. I love ads that make the target market laugh harder than those not in the target–makes the joke even more insightful. This ad is not for gaining new users but rather rewarding current users of ESPN. Many times, media companies use ads like this to fill in the gaps on un-sold media. Strong on Attention and Stickiness, but doesn’t really do anything on communication. 


Nicoderm “Flight Attendant”

I have to slip in one of my own ads with this Nicoderm spot.  This ad in it’s simplest of terms is a side-by-side demonstration of what it’s like to quit “Cold Turkey” (evil, horror, terror) versus using a patch (sweet, nice, gentle) through the personification of the actress. It really speaks to the emotional and psychological benefits of quitting smoking. I know the advertising results here, strong on Attention and Branding, while Communicating the insight. Sales grew immediately. This has generated millions of hits on YouTube and it won J&J’s global ad of the year in 2006. 


Impulse “Art Class”

This is all about Communication of something that’s actually very difficult to “visualize” and that is smell.   This Impulse TV spot does a great show to the impact that scent can have, leveraging a human insight that we can all laugh at. It’s likely a little low on Attention, but the Stickiness really drove business results.


Got Milk “Who shot Alexander Hamilton”

The Got Milk campaign really jumped out as being quite unique. A little bit nerdy, but I used to love my history classes in University. I just find the acting very good and the well-known insight that Milk is needed to make a peanut butter sandwich go down easier. It’s so different giving it strength on Attention, and the story-telling drives the Communication and Branding.


Snickers “Betty White”

Such an adorable ad, that really speaks to the brand idea of “you’re not yourself without a Snickers” Whatever Betty was paid, she’s made millions since because of this spot. Quickly after this one, the power of a Facebook page demanded that Betty host Saturday Night Live. A great little spot that was incredible on Attention and Stickiness. The Communication is a really big idea for the brand that kick-started a campaign that has lasted for years, even if Snicker’s has yet to fully capture in their pool outs what it did on the original ad.


Dollar Shave

As we have entered the Youtube sensation, the Dollar Shave ads really jumped out. High on both Attention and Communication, this crazy ad engaged consumers and brought them closer to the concept of ordering blades on line. This is an incredible way to launch a brand, with a low production budget and zero media budget, yet huge early awareness.


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Beloved Brands: Who are we?

At Beloved Brands, we promise that we will make your brand stronger and your brand leaders smarter. We can help you come up with your brand’s Brand Positioning, Big Idea and Brand Concept. We also can help create Brand Plans that everyone in your organization can follow and helps to focus your Marketing Execution. We provide a new way to look at Brand Management, that uses a provocative approach to align your brand to the sound fundamentals of brand management. 

We will make your team of Brand Leaders smarter so they can produce exceptional work that drives stronger brand results. We offer brand training on every subject in marketing, related to strategic thinking, analytics, brand planning, positioning, creative briefs, customer marketing and marketing execution. 

To contact us, email us at graham@beloved-brands.com or call us at 416-885-3911. You can also find us on Twitter @belovedbrands. 

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16 thoughts on “8 Ads that will make you burst out laughing

  1. Thanks, Graham.

    I did the one-minute-after test, and could remember all the jokes but could spontaneously connect the right brand to Zoozoos (true, had seen that several times before), “Impulse” (perhaps because it was the last in the series) and Nicoderm.

    Had to scroll up to trace the brand names ESPN and Berlitz.

    Though I laughed loudest at that one and surprised my wife.

    Too true, sometimes you remember the ad but not the brand.

    “What was I thinking?”

    1. Sumit, I don’t disagree on the branding.

      In the spirit of Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness for judging advertising, most of these ads focus on attention and communication. BUT, if dont right, humour can help engagement with the ad and then all scores go up. You did the day after test. But the advantage of well liked ads is that these ads will be watched over and over again, which allows the branding to have a stronger fighting chance than very boring “well branded” ads….they’ll now be forwarded with the title of the email being “Funny Berlitz ad”.

      I think the ESPN and the condom branding is very weak. For ESPN, it’s just an ad that surprises and delights consumers already watching ESPN. It won’t make you watch ESPN more, but for a beloved brand like ESPN, surprising and delighting is a good thing to do (next week’s article) My issue with the condom ad is it’s a category ad “wear a condom” and does nothing for the specific condom. This ad could be done by government, a radio station or an association for birth control as much as it could be that condom brand.

      IF we compare, attention, branding and communication to a P&L statement, then attention is like revenue, where it gets you off to a good start. You need strong sales and you need strong attention. Branding becomes like Margin that talks to the health of those sales or the health of that attention you`ve gained.

      Here`s a link to the Judging of Creative using the Attention, Branding, Communication and Stickiness


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