Using Humor to Drive Your Print Campaign

Humor has always been a contentious point in the world of design and advertising. We all dig funny, but do we really want people laughing at our business?

Absolutely we do.

Humor has evolved beyond mere silliness. Now it’s an art form. It’s the art of being intelligent, insightful, and on the ball. Some of the most popular and relevant news shows on TV are “comedy” shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. The edge that these guys have in the marketplace is their ability to use comedy to connect with audiences, and to simultaneously say something important.

By incorporating this type of smart humor into your print design and advertising, you can show off your funny side; in other words, your intelligent side, your thoughtful side, and your edge over the boring, uptight competition.

Here are some different types of humor you might want to try:

  • “Extreme” humor: Unlikely situations involving strong clashes between worlds and characters can make a point about the universal nature of your product or service.
    Imagine posters depicting a glittering temple. A trio of smart young professionals in glasses and suits preside over rows of bowing acolytes. Buddhist monks use your financial planners to help them achieve a state of Zen.
  • Self-conscious humor: Instead of trying to convince consumers that your product or service is perfect, show them what is “wrong” with it, in a way that actually shows that it’s right.
    Imagine a series of full-color print ads showing all the things you can’t do with copiers. A man pulls up in front of his date’s house on a copier; a CEO waits impatiently for his copier to bring in the coffee he ordered, etc…
  • Self-aggrandizing humor: This is the effective opposite of self-conscious humor. Make fun of the type of claims made by conventional advertising by making impossibly fabulous claims about your product or service.
    Imagine a postcard direct mailer advertising your coffee’s ability to cure all of your problems. Advertising traditionally shows coffee starting your day and lifting your spirits, but what if your coffee convinced couples to get married, convinced bosses to give raises, and even brought an end to international conflicts?