Humorous Advertising Techniques That Increase Sales

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Your customers do not trust you. I am sorry but it is true. You might be a monk, but if you are selling something, people will automatically question what it is you have to say. While this can be disheartening to hear, there is a remedy. You can make your customers laugh (or at least smirk) with humorous advertising techniques.

Advertising techniques – How Humour Can Help

A study out of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 2012 (Study on PubMed) confirmed what many of us marketers already knew — customers are blind to advertisements. They assume that companies position themselves in the best possible light. In response, they enact barriers to keep balance the message. 

When messages in the study were delivered with a bit of humour, it helped to overcome this natural barrier and create more positive brand associations. 

People generally feel less critical and frustrated with others when they are laughing. After all — even teachers have challenges disciplining students who are making them laugh!

When you master the art of using humour in your advertising techniques and brand voice, you can begin to see greater returns from your marketing campaigns. Here are a few fantastic advertising techniques where humour and being a bit more lighthearted has driven brands forward.

Three Places where humour works well


1. Video Advertisements

New Kinexions by Kinaxis: Ep. 1- Simplicity

This Kinaxis video is a fantastic example of humor in video advertising. If you are at work and do not want to turn on the volume, here is what happens.

In the ad, Kinaxis compares itself as the new girlfriend of a man in a cafe. She is is clear, direct, easy to communicate with, and low maintenance. When compared to the man’s ex, a slightly more demanding date, the audience immediately feels drawn to Kinaxis.

The idea of a supply chain software casting itself as a date is humorous, but putting it in an awkward dating scenario that we can all relate to makes us laugh out loud.

2. Brand Characters

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Source: Wikimedia Commons &

How can anyone say no to the Pillsbury Doughboy? 

This brand character is a wonderful demonstration of using humorous advertising techniques in the brand logo or character. The doughboy is prominently featured in all their commercials and products and his goofy look and behavior easily disarms viewers. The famous little squeal when someone pokes his belly or the images of him preparing different treats appeals to many consumers, helping them to feel connected to the character, and therefore the brand.

3. Brand Personality

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You have likely come across MailChimp at some point in your career. This brand is famous for incorporating its sense of humour into nearly everything it does. They even have a special mode for those who do not want to participate in the humour– ‘party pooper mode’. 

When customers come onto the platform, the chimp along with the fun, relaxed way of writing helps to disarm the audience and encourage them to engage with the brand. Customers appreciate what Freddie the chimp and the company can do. The casual atmosphere helps to get rid of the notion that this brand is just trying to impress customers by overstating abilities. Instead, it helps them appear more down to earth and approachable.

Use Caution & Be Tactful with Advertising Techniques

Of course, you will have to be careful when using humour. Know your target audience and make sure that all your jokes and humorous efforts do not offend anyone. Use humour to build your relationship with your customers– it should not tear anyone else down. Remember that one wrong move can go viral in minutes, for all the wrong reasons.

Other times, marketing turns out absolutely hilarious, but when it was not meant to be so, it can be devastating!

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Humour is not only good for getting out of trouble in school– it can also help you build your relationship and trust with your customers. If you find yourself struggling to build trust with your consumers, consider adding a bit of humour to your advertising techniques.

  • Do you use humour in your advertising techniques? 
  • Have you found it has helped your customers connect with your brand?
  • Which “humour/humour fail” was the funniest to you?

My book Feed A Starving Crowd has 227 marketing strategies and advertising techniques. You can get a free copy from

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