We like to be entertained, and fortunately fun is a good formula for persuasive communication. Humor is the most popular approach in television advertising, nowhere more evident than on Super Sunday.
To help you sort it all out this Sunday, here is Eighmey’s Typology of Humor in Advertising. The approach I call “Slap Shtick” is typically the most often used, but watch for the four others, too.
1. Slap Shtick: Stupid People Tricks
Last year, Doritos topped the USA Today popularity poll for Super Sunday commercials with a spot showing what happens when people take the power of a crystal ball into their own hands.
2. Ripping Off the Arts: Parody Can Pay
GE employed the Scarecrow from Oz to playfully envision the need for a smart power grid
3. Altered States: Rules of Everyday Life Need Not Apply
Coca-Cola told the story of a youth who finds friendship in a world of strange personas.
4. Exaggerated Claims: Hyper Hyperbole
Pedigree encouraged adoption of dogs by showing pet owners who had made highly inappropriate choices.
5. Strained Expectations: Take a Genre and Bend It
Hulu hired a movie star to turn a conventional celebrity testimonial into a monster movie.
So there you are. Have fun watching commercials this Sunday, and keep my typology on hand to score them.
For more on the Psychology of Advertising, please see Advertising and the Arc of History.