Humour is a great way for marketers to engage audiences. Injecting a bit of fun into ads can help evoke feelings of positivity and trust in viewers, and shows a brand’s light-hearted side. It’s also a fantastic way to make your campaigns more memorable and shareable. Laughter is, after all, a social behaviour. And just like music, people love to share things that make them laugh.

Just think about Facebook and the modern meme phenomenon. People are constantly sharing humorous videos and images on their social feeds. Which means that funny ads make for prime shareable media.

Humour makes communicating your message very simple, because laughter is universal. The only challenge, of course, is actually making something funny.  But beyond that, humour doesn’t rely on USPs, technical terms, or snazzy gadgets. In fact, often you’ll find that brands use humour as a means of self-deprecation, highlighting stereotypes surrounding their own (and also competitors’) businesses.

With that said, let’s take a look at a few stellar examples of funny marketing.


Spotify: “Thanks 2016, it’s been weird”

At the close of 2016, Spotify launched an ingenious campaign that revealed some of the stranger examples of Spotify user behaviour from that year. They took anonymous statistics and shared them on numerous billboards, to great comic effect.



Haynes Baked Beans: “Not For Astronauts”

Admittedly this one’s a bit of a cheat, because it’s not actually an advert for baked beans. It’s more of a meta-advert, showcasing the technical chops of Cinesite, a special effects company. Either way, it is still technically an advert, and as far as spec campaigns go, it’s one of the funniest ads around. Even if “Haynes Beans” doesn’t actually exist. . .



Doritos: Ultrasound

Doritos have developed a reputation for bizarre Super Bowl commercials, and this one is no exception.



Shadow of War: “Not Today, Brian”

Shadow of War is a video game set in Tolkein’s Middle-earth, and one of its stand-out features is the Nemesis System. Simply put, this system gives the game’s AI characters “memories”. So, for example, if you injure an orc but don’t kill it, and encounter it again later in the game, it will remember you.

As a way of demonstrating this system in a novel and humours way, “Not Today, Brian” was conceived. . .



Volvo: “Epic Split”

One of the all-time great examples of lateral creative thinking in marketing. And though not strictly one of the funniest ads ever made, it’s humour strikes on a more contextual level. Volvo wanted to demonstrate the “stability and precision” of their Dynamic Steering. So, naturally, somebody put two and two together and came up with “Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two reversing lorries.”

One epic stunt and 89,000,000 YouTube hits later, and Volvo have themselves a classic.



IKEA: “bookbook”

What do IKEA do when they want to parody Apple? They invent the “bookbook”. A play on the slick, minimal, spec-heavy ads of products like the MacBook, IKEA enumerate the many wonderful features of their new catalogue. From real turnable pages to zero load times, the bookbook is the ultimate non-gadget gadget, and a great way to breathe life into an otherwise mundane and predictable product.



Keep the creative juices flowing

If you enjoyed this post and are feeling inspired by some of the creativity on display, why not keep muse alive by checking out 8 Eye-Bending VR Marketing Campaigns5 Of The Best Movie Marketing Campaigns Of All Time, and 4 Ad Campaigns That Made The Most Of A Bad Situation