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.
A lot of you liked my post on how I whacked Maxis for pretending to be customer service oriented. But what’s the real issue here?
I must admit it; I was rather cheesed of with Maxis to start with. And then they go and air that stupid ad claiming they put customer service first. Of course, I sharpened my pencil and gave them a piece of my mind lah.
Maybe I was slightly rash and less eloquent in that post. And since this is a blog about marketing communications; let’s see what really went wrong with Maxis in that perspective.
Here’s what my favourite branding blog – Brand Strategy Insider – had to say about Brand Arrogance.
“Consumers don’t value brands; they value the idea the brand represents to them. This idea will always be worth more than the product, or the actual bricks and mortar of the business enterprise. When marketers behave arrogantly, the value of the idea people care about is instantly diminished. And once this happens, the road to redemption is long, difficult and expensive”
Simply put, you like a brand not because the logo is red or that the product is great. Consumers actually value the personality that the brand projects more than anything else.
It makes sense because telcos offer essentially similar products and services. But what made you choose Maxis or Digi or Celcom? Think about it.
It’s like making new friends. You only click with certain types of people; as you do with brands. But once a ‘friend’ crosses you, it becomes really hard to be good friends again. There is just something intrinsic about this process that science can’t explain.
Once you screw up with a customer (especially a loyal one), you usually have to work really hard to win him over again. And most times, the defected customer will never return.
There’s a classic Direct Marketing adage that goes like this:
It’s more profitable to retain a loyal customer,
than to attract new customers
For all the advertising and promotions brands conduct to conquest new customers, why not sincerely care for existing customers instead? Those who are already customers may even advocate the brand to their friends and family for free.
And we all know nothing beats the power of word-of-mouth communication.
Clearly Maxis does not see it that way. I guess we are nothing but Ringgit signs that make their cash registers go Ka-Ching!
I know bull crap when I see one, especially when it comes in the form of advertising. And even more so when it comes from a brand that treated me like crap for being their customer for 12 years.
Over-promising has become the bane of the ad industry. But it’s not something new, it has been going on for ages; possibly even when the first line of copy was written or when the first TVC was aired.
The worst part is that we consumers have come accustomed to over-the-top or exaggerated claims. A case in point…
Another one, because this is fun…
So when I saw the new Maxis TV commercial that aired recently, I almost choked on my own saliva. For such a smug, pompous and arrogant brand, this ad is totally not reflective of their actual personality.
If Maxis had really “put customers first” they need not spend millions creating and airing this ad. Their customers will already know and appreciate their customer service efforts. It is because they actually take customers for granted is why such an ad with a ludicrous claim is needed.
Yes Maxis, I have not forgotten how you gave me the middle finger after being loyal to you for 12 years. And this is not the last you will hear from me either. Just keep doing stupid ads.