“Humour is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood”. – Mary Hirsch
A study conducted in the early part of the decade examined university students’ attention and retention of academic content. The results indicated that both retention and attention increased considerably when lecturers applied a sense of humour to their teaching. Humour has the tendency to affect people mentally, and even physically – hence, individuals reading content that incorporates humour react favourably to the material, this emotional reaction to a brand’s message will make it memorable.
The advertising and marketing campaigns that are the most successful and that people still remember, reference and discuss are those that integrated some form of comedy. Humour is an excellent interpersonal tool which enhances relationships; in branded content it will captivate the target audience, which will, in turn, encourage brand loyalty and message recall. There are many ways that a custom publication can exhibit light-heartedness: it can carry it in the publication’s general tone; certain sections can be dedicated to it regularly (e.g. a satirist cartoon or a column), the publication can occasionally carry supplements such as a comic book (which could illustrationally represent information or convey a particular message), or the publication can be supported interactively, with a video for example.
A tinge of levity can always inspire information that may usually come across as overwhelming.
Here are some key rules for using humour in your content, randomly selected from experts in the industry:
- Be politically correct
- Avoid harsh or dark humour
- Work to the target audience
- Don’t let the comedy overwhelm
- If it won’t work, don’t force humour
- Consider that humour can work in unlikely places
In a recent meeting, a marketing manager was jokingly asked, “How many marketing managers does it take to change a light bulb?” His response was, “Is it too late to make this neon instead?”
I bet you will remember this blog piece now!