Humor Gets Watched
According to a recent study, 52% of Gen Z are more likely to watch a video all the way through if it makes them laugh. However, this also means you must be thinking about entertainment first and selling second. This up-and-coming cohort has grown up with traditional advertising tropes and can quickly shut down if they feel something is trying “too hard” to sell.
As for all the people saying Gen Z doesn’t watch TV anymore, that’s not entirely true. They’re just watching far less than previous generations, in favor of viewing on their smartphones (to the tune of 3.4 hours of video per day). And according to a survey by Animoto, do you know what type of video content consumers are most probable to like and share? You guessed it: funny ones.
Humor Gets Respect
In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that being humorous routinely led to higher values of perceived confidence and competence, resulting in greater status. Their methodology used test groups who were exposed to straightforward testimonials as well as humorous ones. Overall, humor netted significantly better outcomes.
This is not to say that humor is the right tactic at all times. You have to know your audience. While humor provides the upside of shareability, there’s also the potential for polarization. In the same psychological study, a joke that missed its mark led to scores equal to or lower than the straight testimonial.
Using humor should also depend on the promise your brand delivers. If the goal is to make the customer feel more elegant, obviously a rainbow-pooping unicorn is not the answer. If you are trying to inspire empathy and understanding, a stunt that creatively uses X-rays to demonstrate how love should have no race, gender, or religion can create the right type of impact.
Much has changed since Freberg’s time, but the value of humor has remained constant. It’s still important to make sure your point is clear and a joy to hear. If you do that, people will reward you with their attention, their business, and a social share.