Humor in video ads
Humor has long been used in advertising, as the world shifts from information-based advertising where the back of the comic book shows a full page ad filled with text for muscle juice you need to keep bullies away on the beach, to entertainment-based advertising of today, where a television or web ad is more like a quick, silly video that passively markets by entertaining, a la Matthew’s Day Off, the Honda commercial during the Super Bowl that emulates Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The problem with executing humor is that most people are bad at it. You know a funny video when you see one, but is the silly chicken suit you’re wearing in your web video ad really funny and/or effective? Probably not, it’s cheesy, and everyone knows it.
Below are two videos about Google’s offering that shows how real time collaboration works, but rather than spell everything out for you in text or word, they demonstrate it with a little bit of humor:
How to execute humor properly
Let’s say you’re a Realtor and you want to do a 30 second spot for the web on a budget. If you get in front of a camera, or heck, your webcam, and you read text about how you’re number one, you love your clients, and you are never too busy for referrals, you’ve lost your audience after two seconds flat. Easily.
Think of ways you can demonstrate your value through humor. Show before and after shots (video or even just picture) of what happens when people use your services versus when they don’t. The before and after can be houses that sold in days versus becoming abandoned and sitting on the market for a year, or it can be mad clients versus happy clients, all done through humorous, not boring shots. Happy clients will be something silly like a couple in front of a large house, jumping up and down, sped up, and mad clients will be sluggishly unpacking their stuff into a cramped, loud condo. Get creative. If you run out of ideas, parodies can be particularly memorable and hilarious if done well.
If you’re doing it alone without professional help, at least spell out your video through storyboarding, show it to others and get their input – your version of funny might not actually be funny. And if you run out of inspiration, just search YouTube for “funny commercial,” and spend endless hours watching the work of others.