How do you solve a problem like...putting the laughter back into ads?

Originally Posted On
The Drum

Each week, we ask agency experts for their advice on real problems facing today’s marketing practitioners. This week, we carry on the discussion and ask how creatives can make ads funny again.

Humor has always been a great way to stand out. Most of the public’s ‘best-loved’ ads are the ones that make them laugh, and despite the fact that consumer surveys tell us punters want to hear from brands with purpose, we know they’re also getting tired of slam poetry about savings accounts.

So, how do you lend a previously po-faced brand a sense of humor? What’s the secret to getting someone to spit out their tea during the Love Island ad break?

That’s the question we posed to industry experts and agency creatives last week – and we had so many strong opinions that we’ve decided to run the debate in two parts. So here’s the sequel.

Joe Baratelli, chief creative officer, RPA

As marketeers we have a job to do. Help clients’ businesses. We use creativity to get noticed. Creating emotions is our job. Whether it’s giving a rise to a chuckle or a tear. It must be true to the product or service or company ethos. Otherwise it’s disingenuous.

Groupthink lands on the side of the familiar. The hot trend. Right now, it’s all in service of ‘a cause’. It’s everywhere – news, social media. Corporations and their chief marketers are leaning into the downtrodden, the underrepresented.

Let’s push through the lingering shots of desaturated images and sad piano music. The people we’re messaging see through it. And we should too.