Funny TV ads appear to be more likable to consumers, but that does not necessarily make them more persuasive or effective, according to [download page] an Ace Metrix study released. Measuring humor against likability, there is a 0.31 correlation, indicating that the more consumers perceive an ad to be funny, the more they find it likeable. There is also a positive correlation with attention (0.30) and watchability (0.15). But, consumers see funny ads as less informative (-0.22 correlation), and are less likely to change (-0.07) or desire (-0.08) brands because of a funny ad. Considering that Edelman released a study saying that consumers demand to be entertained via TV spots this is further proof that every time they try and share research it has little to do with actually driving business.Other key takeaways from their study include:
It is all about the message.
Messages must be built of substance and should use humor as a supplement—not a replacement—to create the most effective ads.
Relevance drives lasting impact in funny ads.
The most effective funny ads were relatable. The funniest ad in our study, “Baby Wets the Room”, from Huggies has broad relevance to many people. Conversely, a funny ad on a fictional space ship, while funny, does not deliver the effectiveness of a highly relatable ad. Febreze’s latest campaign, using real people in unusual situations scored high on both relevance and the
Funny and informative wins.
The most effective funny ads are also informative. Take the Chevy Cruze 42 MPG ad for example; a hilarious ad communicating 42MPG to retirees that unmistakably drives the message of 42 MPG.
Funny drives Attention and Likeability of an ad.
Depending on the campaign objective, driving attention and likeability are the most highly correlated metrics with humor, along with a measure of likelihood of repeat viewing of the ad (watchability). These measures alone, however, don’t drive overall effectiveness. Keys to effectiveness are relevance and information in addition to the ad’s attention-getting and likeable attributes.
Demographics don’t matter.
Surprisingly, we found that with a few extreme exceptions, people of different demographics perceived the degree to which an ad was funny the same way. This was surprising considering that ads typically poke fun at particular demographics, men or women for example.
Funny ads are less likely to drive purchase intent than other ads.
Funny ads drive other great advertising attributes such as attention and likeability. However, low information and relevance on many funny ads results in creating lower desire for the advertised products than non-funny ads.
In the end it’s about the objective of advertising which is to pay the bills and sell more stuff not win awards for funny spots.