Lol! The Pros and Cons of Adding Humor to Marketing

Getting people to laugh can be a highly effective marketing strategy.

However, before you jump right in, it’s imperative to decide if humor in marketing is right for you and your business. After all, the best marketing is engaging, memorable, and shareable. Humor, when done correctly, checks all these boxes. 

Pros to Incorporating Humor into Your Marketing Strategy

  • Humor helps your advertisement stand out by grabbing people’s attention. This is why it is often easier for people to remember comedic advertisements.
  • Your company becomes more relatable and trustworthy.
  • Your marketing will become more likely to be shared because people like to spread laughter.
  • Some companies have gone ‘viral’ for their humorous marketing advertisements. 

Cons to Incorporating Humor into Your Marketing Strategy

  • Not everyone has the same sense of humor. Something you find hilarious may flop on your audience, causing your company to appear unprofessional.
  • The seriousness of your business will be decreased. For some, this may not be a problem.
  • Humor requires cautiousness because it has the potential to offend your target audience, which is the last thing you want. Testing your content on employees and letting it sit for about a week before releasing it can help you avoid this. 

Is Humor Right for Your Business?

Try asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Will my target audience appreciate comedy?
  • Would comedy complement my current brand?
  • Do you, or your employees, have the skills to create humorous content?
  • Are you confident in your ability to create comedy without offending your client base?

Reflect on your answers to the above questions as well as the information stated earlier. If you believe comedy has a place in your marketing strategy, great! Before you get started, it’s worthwhile knowing the various types of humor you can utilize. 

Humor Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Try these on for size if you’re looking to add a few laughs to your marketing strategy. 


Irony usually implies the opposite of what is directly at face value for comedic effect. 

Perhaps you remember learning about irony and the different kinds of irony in English class. You’ll be happy to know that this information does indeed have real-world applications. 

There are three primary forms of irony: situational, verbal, and dramatic.

  • Situational irony happens when the opposite of what is expected occurs.
  • Verbal irony is like sarcasm in that the person’s words contrast with their actual meaning.
  • Dramatic irony occurs when the audience knows something the character(s) don’t. 

Dry Humor

Dry humor is all about delivery: a deadpan facial expression with a matter-of-fact voice. 

Although dry humor jokes are usually inherently funny, the delivery elevates the comedy. Sarcasm, cynicism, and irony are often utilized within dry humor. 

Visual Humor

Visual humor creates comedy through a picture. 

Your business can utilize visual humor by sending out postcards with a visually humorous picture displayed. It’ll be sure to catch your client’s eye and make them laugh, making your business stand out and be memorable. 

Call-Back Jokes

Call-back jokes refer back to a previous joke your company has made.  

Call-back jokes are beneficial for making your clients feel closer to your company because they are now part of an inside joke. This improves customer retention and brand loyalty. 

This strategy is best used when your business had a previous widely successful joke. You don’t want to use this strategy on an obscure joke your company previously made because the joke might be lost on your audience. 

Humor in marketing is quite prevalent, causing many fine examples. 

Comedy within Jake from State Farm

Jake from State Farm was a widely successful ad that utilized irony.

It highlights State Farm’s availability to help its customers. In the commercial, a husband is talking to a representative from State Farm at three in the morning, but the wife thinks he’s having an affair.

She asks Jake, whom she assumes to be a female, what he’s wearing. Jake from State Farm responds, “Uh, Khakis.” The wife remarks to her husband that she (Jake) sounds hideous. Her husband responds with the punchline, “Well, he’s a guy, so…” 

Because of the wide success of the ad, State Farm used a call-back joke in a later commercial. Here they play the same clip, but this time a new agent, also named Jake, is on the phone.

When asked by the wife what he’s wearing, he also responds with, “Uh, Khakis.” However, this time he leans over to his coworker and asks him if State Farm Agents often get asked what they’re wearing. His coworker replies with, “Uh, yeah.” 

State Farm isn’t the only company with great examples of comedic ads. If you need inspiration, it may be beneficial to look through ads other companies have released. 

You can watch the Jake from State Farm ads here

Laughter is a Powerful Marketing Tool

Knowing when and how to do so effectively can do wonders for your marketing campaign.