Using Humour in Your Copywriting

August 23rd 2012       Sally Ormond       using humour in copywriting

Everyone thinks they’re a comedian, but few can actually pull it off. Using humour in your copywriting

I’m sure you’ve experienced a night out with friends when one of them starts cracking jokes or making (what they think are) funny remarks. They think they’re hilarious, but the rest of you are cringing hoping they’ll shut up because what they think is funny is very far removed from what the rest of you class as a laugh.

The same can happen of you try to use humour in your copy – just because you find something funny doesn’t mean everyone else will too.

Admittedly, there are times when brands manage to pull off humorous copy, but before you try it think long and hard about the image you’ve worked to hard to create for your business. And if you’re dead set on being funny, ask yourself these questions before you push your marketing campaign out onto the unsuspecting public:

1. Is it really funny?

As mentioned earlier, just because you find something funny doesn’t mean everyone else will. It may be a good idea to try it out on a broad sample of people first. And not just your colleagues. Ask friends, relations, customers – as many different groups of people as possible to get a balanced view on your proposal.

2. Oops

If your humour pokes fun at other people, think very carefully as what you find funny others might find offensive. If you’re determined to go down this route, tread carefully otherwise you could end up in a lot of hot water.

3. It could kill, not cure

After spending years growing your business and perfecting your brand, do you really want to jeopardise it? If you have become renowned for your quality and soberness and then put out an ‘amusing’ marketing campaign you could turn a lot of your customers off. Think carefully about your brand image and whether humour works with it.

At the end of the day…

A marketer that uses humour for the first time is a brave person. It has to be done after careful consideration and research, not on a whim.

Take a long hard look at your product and market before you dive into comedy. After all, you want your customers to be laughing with you, not at you.



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Comments (2)

Kenny Lum 8 years ago.

Hey Sally, interesting article. It's true that humor can kill sales if done wrong. Ever taken a look at Gary Bencivenga's "Lies, Lies, Lies!" package? That's a great example of when humor works in copy.

8 years ago.

Thanks Kenny - not seen that, I shall have to take a look.