El humor en la publicidad: Cómo usarlo bien

Alexandra Hicks
Hacer reír a las personas te acerca más a ellas, les guste o no. En este artículo vemos cómo usar el humor en publicidad para atraer a tu público objetivo. Cuando se utiliza de forma adecuada, el humor puede ser una de las mejores herramientas para una marca. Pero si se hace mal, las consecuencias pueden ser desastrosas.

span style=”vertical-align: inherit;”>Even when they are effective, people often hate ads. One way to create an ad that works and makes people think highly of your brand is to use humor; an old trick to get anyone to like you.

Below you will discover how humor works in advertising and how you can use it effectively.

Why does humor work in advertising?

Laughing at poster

Humor is a wonderful and unique human characteristic (as far as we know). Along with physical touch, affection, and other behaviors, humor can be used to establish emotional relationships between people and groups.

In the capitalist world, companies can appropriate this beautiful, inherent and universal human trait to sell products and services, make profits and enhance their brand identity.

Therefore, humor is a very important tool in advertising; and funny ads can stick in people’s minds, helping them remember your brand and activating their neurotransmitters (which means they’ll associate your product with a feeling of carefree and joy, and be more likely to give you their money).

Answering the question of why humor works so well in advertising, it is mainly due to the fact that it makes brands seem more human. However, since the goal of every brand is to make money (in most cases), humor is a gimmick, and not an indicator of a company’s humanity.


Yuqo quotesHumor in advertising works by creating a bond between a brand and a person, which increases the likelihood that the latter will be attracted to the former.

When does humor work in an ad?

As in interpersonal interactions, for humor to work in advertising, it must be used appropriately. We all know that feeling that a mistimed joke produces. If you run an ad that makes that unfortunate mistake, it better at least become something memorable (after all, any advertising is good advertising), or else it won’t have any positive effect.

With this in mind, let’s look at the key factors to take into account when using humor in an advertisement, and some mistakes that companies should avoid.

It must conform to the philosophy and identity of the brand

In general, the humor should be in line with the brand. For example, a funeral home should probably avoid using funny ads, as they will most likely scare away their target audience. That said, if the humor is clever enough and done appropriately (and with appropriate intent), there are no limits to where or when it can be used.

But if you want to play it safe, determine what the emotional core of your brand is and use humor in a way that reinforces it. Occasionally, if used cleverly it can also be used to subvert expectations surrounding a brand and generate new interest.

It must be relevant to the target audience

Regardless of what the joke is, it should appeal to your target audience. There’s no point in taking a humorous approach if the people who buy your products or services aren’t going to find it funny.

In general, different groups of people have different ideas of what is funny, and sometimes these opinions vary dramatically. Therefore, it is essential to identify your target audience and their sense of humor. If you get it wrong, you could alienate a key demographic, even if what you created seems funny to other people.

You must be respectful

Nowadays, humor is something of a minefield. Especially when an announcement spreads on social media, nuances tend to get lost. As a result, your tone could be misinterpreted, and your attempt at humor may come off as more offensive than you think.

So, it is best to play it safe, unless you are completely confident in what you are doing. In general, it is best to avoid making jokes at the expense of a particular person or group; not because it is negative for business, but because it is negative for the world.

It must be appropriate for the platform in question

Different media lend themselves to different types of advertising. For example, a television ad should convey a funny story in up to just 15 seconds.

Instead, static ads lend themselves to even the most fundamental or superficial forms of humor, since very few people are willing to pay them the necessary attention that something more developed would require.

Los anuncios en redes sociales se encuentran en un punto intermedio (dependiendo de la plataforma y del tipo de anuncio), pero deben captar la atención de la gente de inmediato, y no durar más tiempo del necesario.

En general, en publicidad, es más fácil optar por lo sencillo y usar un humor que sea obvio pero tal vez no excepcionalmente gracioso. Transmitir algo que sea realmente divertido en un espacio y tiempo limitado es muy difícil, y requiere de una gran habilidad.

Deberá transmitir el mensaje

Cuando se usa el humor en un anuncio, debe transmitir el mensaje, la marca, producto o lo que sea que quieras comunicar. Si solo buscas un mayor reconocimiento, tendrás más libertad en cuanto a cómo usar el humor, ya que tu objetivo será provocar una reacción.

Pero si estás tratando de promocionar algo más concreto (como un producto), el humor funcionará mejor si está relacionado con lo que sea que vas a promocionar. Si no tiene nada que ver, es posible que la gente disfrute del anuncio pero no se involucre de una forma relevante.

Deberá tener en cuenta la localización

Puede que la risa sea algo universal, pero lo que la gente encuentra gracioso es muy específico y difiere enormemente entre distintos grupos, regiones, culturas, etc. El humor es algo que está muy localizado, por lo que si lo vas a utilizar en la publicidad, deberás investigar por tu cuenta y asegurarte de que se adapte a tu público objetivo. En realidad, un anuncio gracioso debería ser escrito por alguien del público objetivo, o las probabilidades de que no haga gracia serán bastante altas.

Además, el humor está muy ligado a los idiomas, y a menudo se pierde al traducirlo, incluso cuando no se trata de juegos de palabras.

Trabaja con humoristas

Muchas marcas contratan humoristas o escritores de comedia profesionales para que les ayuden a crear anuncios graciosos. Estas personas tienen mucha más idea de lo que funciona y lo que no en lo que respecta al humor. Así que, en lugar de hacerlo a ciegas, contrata a alguien que tenga experiencia. Si quieres atraer a las masas, tu mejor apuesta es un humorista.

Pide una segunda opinión

Nunca publiques un anuncio humorístico sin pedir una segunda, tercera e incluso cuarta opinión. Es más, trata de conocer el punto de vista de varias personas distintas, no solo de un montón de gente como tú. De esta manera, te harás una mejor idea de cómo podría ser recibido entre las personas de diferentes grupos. Además, es una buena forma de averiguar si alguien podría ofenderse por algo que a ti te parece apropiado.


Yuqo quotesAcertar con el humor es clave a la hora de crear un anuncio divertido. Esto significa que deberá adaptarse a la identidad de tu marca, de tu público objetivo y, lógicamente, ser gracioso.

¿Cómo se usa el humor en la publicidad?

Today, humor is often used in advertising to make brands memorable; but it can also make them annoying. There is a very fine line between these two outcomes, but many modern brands choose to be a little annoying so that their ads remain in the minds of consumers.

However, this type of “humor” aside, ads that are intended to make people laugh can work very well… or very poorly.

An example of humor well used in advertising are the Fabada Litoral ads. In general, these humorous advertising campaigns are considered successful for several reasons:

• They create a happy and endearing image of the brand
• They are memorable and leave people wanting more.
• They promote its virality, which means free advertising.
• Create consistent characters and narratives
Create a connection between brands and customers

On the other hand, advertisements that use sexual humor or try to degrade certain social groups usually fail. For example, the 2013 Kmart boxer ad “Show Your Joe,” in which six men in Christmas-themed boxers moved their hips to the beat of jingle bells, was seen mostly as unpleasant or just plain stupid.


Yuqo quotesWhen humor is used well, it can create an endearing brand that stays in consumers’ minds and encourages virality. But if done wrong, it could greatly damage a brand’s image.


Humor in marketing: It offers great potential if done well

In short, humor is one of the best advertising tools a brand has at its disposal, but only if it is done successfully. If something isn’t funny or, worse yet, is offensive, you’ll only hurt your brand. But if you get the tone right and make people laugh, you’ll master one of the most powerful advertising tricks there is.