Why Wit and Humor is Serious Business in Marketing?

Aditya Kathotia 0 Comments
Life is far too short to not treat yourself and others to a chuckle or two…and needless to say, brands across all industries have become major proponents of infusing humor into marketing and advertising. In essence, a brand relies on humor to leverage brand familiarity. Why? well because humor is direct, and to quote Leonardo Di Caprio’s character from Inception “once an idea has taken hold of the brain, it becomes impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood sticks deep in there somewhere.” The man was hands down right because the fastest route to that intricate maze in our brain is through wit and humor.

Credit: imgflip

The key to it lies in using humor right off the bat and connecting the joke to the brand image. Humor is a brilliant tried and tested way to sell your brand or product without directly selling something, as consumers don’t want to feel like you’re taking money right out of their pockets. By appealing to a consumer’s funny side and hitting the sweet spot of relatability, you’re able to engage them and make a memorable impact. For this marketing strategy to be successful, especially when every other brand out there is competing, neck to neck for audience attention, the content you churn out to your audience must be interesting, memorable, and most importantly shareable. Numerous factors go into making a brand “followable” on social media. Look at it from your perspective…why do you choose to ‘like’ or follow certain brands on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Either it could be for valuable insights, or probably for aesthetics or it gives you access to exclusive content, or let’s be honest you find it crazy funny.

Credit: TENOR

Truth be told, the best brands to follow on social media will have a blend of all those characteristics. But I’ll take a shot in the dark and say that many of you follow a brand simply for its entertainment value including myself *guilty as charged*. But even here there is a catch, for humor to work as an advertising technique, the trick lies in finding the right kind of humor to connect with the audience for your product.



The Aviation Gin ads are absolute genius because it compels you to watch it right till the end and props to them for keeping it witty and super relatable. Their noteworthy and oh-so-refreshing deadpan humor and witty quips from Ryan Reynolds make these, even more, hilarious. The one that had me in splits was their father’s day special campaign, where you can see the Deadpool star stirring up a glass of ‘Vasectomy’…yes you heard that right! The video indulges in a chuckle-worthy monologue by Ryan with a few bloopers thrown in, talking about celebrating the refreshing “pleasures” of fatherhood while delivering his trademark quips.

What works for them is that instead of making dry, informative videos they market content that relates and tickles your funny bone. Such is the dynamic of their marketing that instead of having their advertisements forced on me, I now willingly go looking for these commercials purely for entertainment purposes.


Unconventional humor is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if there’s one brand that does a bang-up job when it comes to out-of-the-box humor, it would have to be Dollar Shave Club. It all began with a viral video that featured founder Michael Dubin. The video starring Dubin garnered 27 million views on youtube. However, once you’ve won over millions of fans with a funny video, you need to keep the laughs coming— and DSC has delivered on that front. The campaign that struck a chord with me as a father of two was the Magnifique-dad bod campaign.

A perfect example of how to target, speak and relate to your demographic. Giving a complex topic like inclusivity and body positivity a comic spin, this campaign was an absolute winner. This fun tribute to the dad bod opens with the word “Magnifique,” a unique adjective that defines the magnificence of usually overlooked male body types, oftentimes the bodies of dads or as we know it “dad bods.” Truth is, men too can feel just as self-conscious as women when it comes to their appearance. This video seems like the perfect way to give dads a big shout-out for all they do and let them know that it doesn’t matter what they look like, they’re just as perfect and they’re all part of the club!

3. DENNY’s

Usually bizarre, and always funny, Denny’s brand interaction on Twitter shows that not only do they have a finger on the pulse of its audience, but they can react with whip-smart efficiency. They understand the vitality of staying relevant and that is why it chooses to feed its audience something other than (boring) business as usual. Their 180-characters-or-less wisecracks on Twitter often cause a stir with their audience and they effortlessly embed their brand in every joke they make.

There is no doubt that humor takes serious spontaneity, but it doesn’t always take a big-budget ad campaign to grab your audience’s attention. Sometimes, a well-timed interactive joke could make all the difference in having your message resonate and Denny’s has that down to the ‘t’. A perfect example of this is one of their Twitter posts, where they ask their audience to find out how soft and fluffy their pancakes are, but in order to do that, you need to zoom in.

Image Credit: Denny’s

When you take a close look you’ll see a couple all snug and cozy on the pancake as if it were a soft mattress…So that’s how soft those pancakes are…If that isn’t a great depiction of your product, I don’t know what is! Also what makes this post even more interesting is they make their audience interact with it by asking them to zoom in, were you able to spot the cozy couple without zooming in? Instead of sending out robotic, informational tweets all the time, they make it a point to have a little fun with their brand.


Humor can range from situational, observational, anecdotal, or character-driven in advertising. But whatever the type might be, the main goal is to always have the product placed prominently around wit and humor, the joke should not dilute the essence of the brand. Humor is linked to ‘higher recall’, which means whenever wit and humor permeate into a brand message it becomes easier for your target demographic to relate to you and recollect you. At the end of the day marketing effectiveness and value creation is serious stuff, wouldn’t you say? Some might even say it’s no joke!. But I would like to politely disagree. Why? Because enough evidence suggests that using humor in marketing is a value creation opportunity. The only thing you need to bear in mind though before you jump the wit and humor wagon is to put some serious thought into it!
Article by:
Aditya Kathotia

Aditya Kathotia is the CEO of Nico Digital and the founder of Digital Polo. A polyglot of the digital marketing business, he has powered 500+ brands through transformative digital marketing strategies. As a niche-specific marketing whiz, he has enabled clients worldwide to grow their revenue exponentially with strategic precision. His work has been featured on Entrepreneur, Hubspot, Business.com, Clutch, and many more. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.