emotional branding tactics: connecting using humor in advertising

Great emotional branding doesn’t just build love for the product, it also shows that the brand shares a customer’s attitudes and style. The product is transformed into a symbol of deeply held customer beliefs.

In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows the secrets to building the funniest commercials that entertain, but also move the customer to a deeper connection with the brand.

How the Funniest Commercials do it
Humor in advertising is one of the most useful techniques that advertisers have at their disposal. Humorous commercials are among the most celebrated mediums of advertising that emotional branding can produce, but why? Why are humor commercials and humorous advertisements so good? Why are funny Superbowl commercials among the best television ads ever? Today I’m going to talk about how the funniest commercials use emotional branding and humor in advertising to create fantastic advertising humor that also sells.

Humorous Advertisements and How to Make Them
Humorous advertisements can be some of the best television ads you will ever make. Funny Superbowl commercials are some of the best television ads out there. Humorous advertisements are based off of various different emotional branding drivers that make them more relatable to the customer. Advertising humor is great, but the funniest commercials are the ones that use emotional branding to target the feelings of the customer. The best television ads are the humor ads that are more than humorous advertisements, they’re the ones that actually get beneath the surface and appeal to something deeper in the customer.

Emotional Branding with Humor
Emotional branding is the most powerful tool we have at our disposal as ad copy writers. It is how we take humorous advertisements and make them into the best television ads we can make. Emotional branding takes advertising humor and gives it substance, because what is humor in advertising without something to go along with it to give it substance? In reality, advertising humor is nothing more than negative emotions made socially acceptable by emotional branding. The funniest commercials are actually the ones that embody some of the nastiest emotions we are capable of feeling.

Humor in Advertising is Actually Negativity
This casts an entirely new light on humor commercials when you look at it from the emotional branding standpoint. While you get a good chuckle from advertising humor, it’s because these funny television ads are showing you that they hate the same things that you do, but make them socially acceptable through humor. The funniest commercials are thus often times the darkest ones, but through emotional branding they are made acceptable.

Advertising Humor with a Kick
Humor in advertising is essential for conveying these emotions that we don’t want to admit we feel. Through emotional branding, emotions like rage, jealousy, and distain are all made warm and nice. The funniest commercials show some of the most hated stereotypes in our lives getting their comeuppance, but since it is done using advertising humor, it’s ok to laugh at.

Humor Commercials and Negativity
So remember, humor commercials aren’t really about advertising humor at all. When you look at the goals from an emotional branding point of view, you realize that humor in advertising is nothing more than a way to make the negative emotions we feel every day more socially acceptable. So find out what your customers really hate the most and throw those things into your humorous advertisements to truly endear yourself to the customer.

So to recap:

  • The funniest commercials use emotional branding drivers to make their humor thrive, but the true motivation and identity of that humor is negativity
  • Emotional branding is used here when you identify what your customers really hate, and then use your humor commercials to lampoon that very thing




Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Emotional Branding Tactics: Connecting Using Humor in Advertising” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing trainer, customer loyalty researcher, and consultant at 602 Communications.


So in essence what we’re doing, is we are holding up a mirror to the customer. And that is the way you want to think of these promos. We are trying to show them themselves. And the best promos will be about forming that sense of camaraderie and a club.

“Kimberly, you’ve got the tools to fix this. Double down. Rock a bye baby, in the tree top, when the wind blows the cradle”

A great fun promo but it really has almost nothing to do with the snacks. What it’s about is being sarcastic and rebellious. So you won’t see Cheetos ads where they’re going like “it tastes so snacky cheesy good you’re gonna love how crispy the chip is”, they get beyond that and make the customer identification play and there’s nothing better than sarcasm and rebellion to do that with Cheetos’ brand.

“You know other people trying to do the laundry too. Felicia, those are her whites in the dryer.”

So what we’ve got to really do is take a look at the base of humor. Why does humor work so well it’s one of the most important drivers we have the ad world is everywhere. When humor is really all about socially unacceptable anger. The feelings that we would just never want to have on our own. As Stephen King says humor is anger with its makeup on. Humor is rage and anguish bandaged over. Really mean stuff sometimes, and yet somehow this humor manages to take the edge off it. Take a look at this next promo it’s really horrible but it’s still wonderful.

“Shit. Good afternoon madam. I’m sorry officer, can I see your papers please. Hello mommy in a bit of a hurry was she? That’s not my mommy. Step out of the car Madam! Step out of the vehicle now!”

Wow pretty evil isn’t it? But yet, you just love it you really do. So all the most nasty emotions in the world: contempt and greed and jealousy and hatred and envy. All of these things can be safely wrapped into a humorous promo and it’s okay to feel them because it’s got the chuckle behind it.

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