Advertising and humour often go hand-in-hand. But do funny ads actually work?
As you may be aware, I am a fan of comedy. I just love being humoured; by comedians, sitcoms, friends and sometimes, ads too.
For a copywriter like me, humour offers a much-needed respite from all the mind-numbing chaos.
So here’s a recent ad from Maxis that I thought was really funny. Yes, I am amazed at myself for showcasing a Maxis ad positively, considering how I whacked them the last time. But credit is due where it is due I suppose.
But wait. On with the ad first…
Now, if you are like me – someone who absolutely hates online videos that go into buffering mode – you may have found the ad funny. But did the ad compel any kind of action from you?
Again, if you are like me – someone who can be a real lazy arse sometimes – you didn’t take any action. As in call Maxis, look for more info online or run to the nearest Maxis outlet to register for this wonderful fibre internet.
This is the problem with funny ads. While they may steal your attention and be memorable; it doesn’t guarantee a response from consumers.
And don’t for a moment think being funny improves brand awareness either.
People usually only remember that a particular ad is funny, but often struggle to remember the brand or product. Think about your favourite funny ad; do you remember the product?
Ace Metrix – a television and video analytics agency – studied funny ads in the US for over a year and drew the following conclusions:
- Funny ads were memorable and appealing, but were less likely to increase desire or purchase intent
- Humour in ads work better when it is used as a supplement rather than a replacement
When consumers are not compelled to take action after seeing your ad, it usually means money down the drain.
So be funny at your own peril, or risk becoming a joke.
If you don’t know already, then yes, I am a fan of the greatest football club in the world – Manchester United.
While some will argue about the ‘greatest’ statement, this post is not about glorifying my beloved team, but more about what it takes to be a winning marketer.
But still, there is this little fact about Man United being the most successful English football club. And they didn’t get there just by playing awesome football. There are other elements at play, based on my humble opinion:
Manchester United’s most successful period have been under Sir Alex Ferguson. He is a manager, mentor, tactician, dictator and most of a believer. The person leading any marketing effort must not only be good at what he does, but also believe in the product or service.
The ‘never say die’ attitude that is legendary of Manchester United players have brought them back from many lost causes. When you think your marketing efforts aren’t working, you got to persevere. Employ different tactics, ask the right questions and take some risks.
In this hurry-burry world of instant success and overnight miracles, it seems there is no time for patience. Alex Ferguson was appointed manager in 1986 and will take 4 seasons to win his first trophy, the FA Cup. And another 3 seasons more to end a 26-year league title drought. Don’t expect your marketing efforts to bring you instant results. Time is your ally; monitor, enhance and tweak constantly.
4. Perfection is an Illusion
Man United have played a total of 4,318 leagues games as at 11 March 2012. Of that they have won 2,061, drawn 1034 and lost 1223. That’s not even a 50% winning rate, and yet they have a record 19 league championships. Don’t strive to get everything perfect on your marketing plan, but fine-tune along the way to achieve success.
5. Money Isn’t Everything
In 2006, after losing the league to Chelsea for 2 consecutive years, United only spent 16 million pounds to bring in Michael Carrick. Chelsea by contrast spent over 60 million pounds and will go on to lose the league to Man United for the next 3 seasons. Having a big budget is great, but spending it on nonsense is not.
More than 12 million Facebook users. National broadband penetration is over 80%. Almost 17 million total internet users. And how much are Malaysian businesses spending on online advertising?
A measly 1% of their total advertising budget.
A report released recently by Google and McKinsey & Co shows that Malaysian businesses hardly see internet advertising viable. In fact, Malaysia is placed at the bottom 10% of the 57 countries surveyed.
Look, I’m no advertising genius. But doesn’t this seem like a severe case of head-in-the-sand ignorance?
Just 10% of Malaysia’s Facebook population is still more than the total daily readership of The Star, which is at about 1.06 million.
But that’s not all. We Malaysians spend more time on the internet than on watching television or listening to the radio combined.
If you ask me, I think we spend more time online than even talking to our spouse, family and friends combined.
If anyone out there thinks online advertising is crap – it can be annoying if improperly executed though – here are 5 good reasons why you should take your next campaign online:
- Costs a fraction of TV, Print or even Radio ads
- You can measure results and effectiveness almost immediately
- Internet allows for almost pin-point targeting, bases on niche interests
- Those in their 20s and 30s are active internet users; a consumer goldmine!
- Almost 40% of purchase decisions are made on the net; making online presence critical
In times of dwindling marketing budgets and an ever-evolving consumer landscape, please feel free to double or even triple your online marketing efforts this year.
If you still want to spend RM40,000 or upwards on a one-time-only print ad (I’ve got some tips for that too) instead of a highly-targeted, response-oriented online campaign; then go right ahead.