Comedy in advertising

Comedy in advertising

5 November 2019

Do you remember the first ad you found funny? Our memories are stuffed full of catchphrases, jingles and jokes from the ads we watched growing up. But these days, with fewer ads using humour, and more of our time taken up by inherently unfunny things: 24/7 news cycles, Netflix documentaries, twitter feeds — is there still time to laugh? We think so. And we think it’s time to put humour back in the spotlight.

Comedy breaks down barriers we might not have previously seen. It’s a powerful tool of communication within ads because, used well, it can be irreverent and have a lifespan long after the campaign is finished. Comedy and advertising are so closely linked because they’re all about truths and reflections on society. We want our ads to be entertaining, not just something you’d change the channel to avoid.

Sharing a laugh with someone is about more than just a joke being funny — it’s a sign of shared values and viewpoints. Humour is used in almost half of all ads today and we believe that it is still one of the most effective ways to build bridges between brands and people. Even political parties are employing ‘meme creators’ and investing in using new forms of humour to try and engage with different demographics. “Ultimately we’re an industry interested in entertainment,” says isobel’s Chief Executive Paul Houlding, “90% of what happens in our world is about making people feel good, it’s about seeing and reflecting the truth in society in the most engaging way possible. You can’t bludgeon people into buying your brand or products. People need seduction, they need persuasion. We should be entertainers creating positive memories and one great way of doing that is to make people smile. It’s the type of work that we like to create and It’s a big reason as to why we host our regular isobelly Laughs stand-up comedy nights in our office”.

“There’s something incredibly bonding when a person stands up and recounts a personal moment that they’ve experienced. You laugh and nod because you have shared that very same moment and it’s a shock that you’re not the only one. Then you realise the whole room is laughing, that you’ve all experienced that exact same thing. It’s insightful, it’s a truth and it’s exactly what is at the heart of what we try to do in our agency. We need to find what makes us laugh so we can find more things that connect us than divide us” says isobel’s Creative Director Rob Fletcher. “Humour often is the most engaging element of the work we do. At isobel, we’re trying to build a culture around human truths – we know that comedy is at the core of that, and it’s why that now more than ever it’s so important.”