How to Use Humor in Video Marketing?

If you rack your memory for some commercials that stand out, you will notice that most of them had a humorous edge. Humor has been the bread and butter of video marketing.

Super Bowl commercials tend to take it several notches up. These highly creative ads have sustained the test of time and are still alive and well in our cultural consciousness.

Old Spice, Taco Bell, E-Trade, Budweiser, and Wendy’s have made some hilarious ad campaigns.

Think of it from the angle of the audience, would you rather be pitched to or entertained?

This is why some of these campaigns have proven effective in terms of being memorable and engaging.

You will see the use of humor on several channels and platforms. Even the exterior signage of coffee shops has wordplay or jokes to drum up some foot traffic.

When it comes to video marketing, social media is your cheaper ticket. It is a great way to stay relevant.

Edgy humor is taking over in video marketing. Be it Dollar Shave Club’s deadpan humor or Wendy’s way of taking digs at its followers.

There are several other examples like the Squatty Potty, Poo-Pourri, and Purple Mattress. It won’t come as that big a surprise that they were all created by the same agency.

You saw something funny, what is the first instinct you get? To show it to a friend. That is what humorous video marketing content capitalizes on.

It is shareable and thus has a wider reach. They don’t feel like a conventional advertisement. They keep people engaged and entertained.


What does using humor in video marketing achieve?

Well, here’s how it works. Humor in videos…


1. Builds rapport

Who doesn’t like laughing?

When a brand makes you laugh, you instantly form a connection of likability and trust with them.

This builds rapport. It plays a huge role in disarming your prospects and makes them more comfortable with your brand.

Humor is the spoon full of sugar that helps the sales pitch go down. It’s always a good idea to make your content palatable by sounding witty, charming, and funny.

A word of caution: don’t forget about clarity though. If your message is too vague, it won’t be effective no matter how witty or clever it might be.


2. Triggers memorability

Something that jogs up a pleasant sensation in your customer’s minds nudges them along their buying journey.

Unexpected wordplay is also known to turn some heads. In addition to this, a blast from the past of a childhood joke, some familiar punchline is also something that is known to work.

Your audience likes their beliefs challenged sometimes and surprised with new ideas that are contradictory to what they are used to seeing and thinking.

It is all about existing repertoire and making the most of it by triggering something very memorable in it.


3. Creates alignment

Community, relatability, shared experiences are something that are fertile grounds for effective humor.

It starts from identifying a common process or problem and building your story around it and adding humor to it.

When you tell your audience that they are not alone in this situation or that this is a collective phenomenon with a light-hearted tone and discourse, you have a better chance at hitting the right cords.


How to add humor to your video marketing strategy

There are several ways one could integrate comic relief into your video marketing content. Let’s talk about them one by one in more detail.


1. Parody

It is very easy to get yourself on the map by spoof or imitating something popular. The audience’s mind makes an instant connection.

A parody is a sure-fire way of standing out from the crowd. Give it as creative a twist as you can. Try to stay fresh and relevant.

Parody is also used to ridicule competitors, often not too subtly and without naming them. It is also used to make otherwise technical and dry products more entertaining to understand.

Take Cisco, for example, a company selling a $100,000 computer router might find it hard to stay relevant to any audience that isn’t made up of hardcore tech programmers.

However, they thought creatively beyond the product and made a catchy parody of Gloria Gaynor’s classic, “I Will Survive”.


2. Farce

This is a popular format of incorporating buffoonery in marketing video content.

Additionally, an unmistakable absurdity and unlikely situations are happening in video content made in this format.

However, you have to be careful about the quantity of it. A little farce goes a long way.

Here is an example of a funny Super Bowl commercial posing a highly unlikely situation while giving a convincing sales pitch.


3. Hyperbole

Hyperbole works very well in humorous video content.

When using hyperbole in a humorous marketing video, you have to be careful that you don’t just use it for the sake of using it. It must align with the concept of the campaign.

DirectTV had a hilarious and successful campaign based around hyperbole.


4. Metaphor

Using metaphors in content to make it layered and humorous.

It is also known to be effective because it is often the funny things that stick.

If you made your audience laugh through a clever metaphor, chances are that they will buy your product when they see it in the market.

“Red Bull Gives You Wings” is a classic example of using a metaphor humorously.

It implies that the energy drink gives you the energy to outperform yourself.

It gives you just the boost you need to overcome challenges and outwit adversaries.


5. Pun and wordplay

Puns and wordplay have been around for as long as language itself. Clever marketers can use it to their advantage to get some laughs out of the audience.

A very popular form of pun is portmanteau where you take two words and combine them into one.


6. Timing

In any kind of visual storytelling, being good with timing is pivotal to effectiveness. Some marketing videos have their humor centered around timing. This is where you need very good post-production.

Good editing plays the same role as a jazz virtuoso that syncs up the symphonies of different instruments to give one fine melody.

You can use good timing in a video to wow your audience with the element of surprise.

Here is a commercial from Hyundai that has very good timing, adding a lot of impact to the message.


7. Deadpan comedy

Deadpan comedy is the truest exhibition of “It’s funny because it’s true”. In this format, you deliver the truth in the plainest way possible to a point that it is humorous.

It works well in video marketing. It may be because deadpan comedy is very clever and has the same energy as satirical humor.

Sometimes your audience likes things being handed to them the way they are.


8. Pain point

The best way to sell your video is by empathizing with your audience. It makes them feel seen when you base your argument around a customer’s pain point.

Keeping the conversation light is a sure way of engaging your audience while addressing the problem. You can add whichever sort of humor fits the brand image, be it deadpan, slapstick, exaggerative, or dark humor.

The viral campaign of Dollar Shave Club is an amazing example of deadpan comedy combined with a customer pain-point. It is the perfect combination.


9. Self-deprecative humor

Sometimes marketing videos take it a bit too far with brags and pretense to make the perfect pitch.

Self-deprecation is often taken as candid humility and is welcomed because it is often exhibited by honest and self-aware people.

Admitting your shortcomings in your marketing videos not only adds humor and personality but also humanizes your brand.

Self-deprecation often works well with sarcasm and slapstick.

Celebrity endorsement commercials for fizzy drinks all look the same. Sprite always had LeBron James as the face of their brand, however, this time they decided to do something different.

This ad was not an attempt to make fun of Sprite itself but of the prevalent format of the ad videos (that Sprite also had been using until recently) where a celebrity tells you to use a product in a frame-by-frame succession of very textbook and recurring scenes in commercials of a fizzy drink.


Final thoughts

Now all of these strategies are known to work for some brands. But will it work for you? That is a question that demands some reflection.

Will the humor be misunderstood? Is it appropriate or insensitive? Does it coincide and integrate well with your campaign objectives?

If you check all the boxes, humorous marketing videos have the potential to make your message stick.

Pro tip: It is also very important to tailor your humor to your audience demographic. You also have to make sure that the humor does not overpower your brand message.

With all of these things in mind, no one can stop your campaign from being a hit. Reach out to MotionCue to have a cool and humorous marketing video made.

Want a video for your business?


Happy marketing.

Posted by Fatima Najeeb

Subscribe to the MotionCue Newsletter

For monthly video and marketing insights from company founder/CEO Osama Khabab

Contact Us

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.