HUMOR in visual communication Many of the most memorable communication campaigns around tend to be funny. They use this strategy to attract viewers to the message. Audiences like to be entertained, but not pitched. Laughter is a release… and makes us feel good - a positive feeling Which would you notice - and respond to? HUMOR in visual communication People will pay more attention to a humorous message than a factual or serious one, opening themselves up to be influenced. http://buckleys.com/index.html The key to effective humor in communication is assuring the humor is appropriate to both message and audience. The balance between funny and obnoxious can often be delicate One must be certain the positive effects outweigh the potentially negative before a message can be presented. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR71GnQ4CU4 http://www.colbertnation.com/home http://www.global-dialog.org/mvd/Humor.JonStewart.html Humor is used in many communication contexts… How many Americans get most of their information about current political events most of the time from the standup routines of late night TV talk shows? Could Jay Leno be more influential on the "discourse in the public sphere" than George Wills, Pat Robertson, Bill O’Reilly, or Jim Lehrer? Do Leno and the other talk show hosts give the public all they really needed to know in an efficient, quick, and humorous way? President Obama just visited Jay Leno… The best products to sell using humor tend to be those that consumers have to think the least about. Products that are relatively inexpensive, and often consumable, can be represented without providing a lot of facts, and that’s where there’s room for humor. An example of an extremely successful humorous campaign is the series of “Yo Quiero Taco Bell” commercials. The star, a tiny talking Chihuahua who is passionate about his Taco Bell, got people repeating the company’s name across the country. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid =3732105115430813809&q=yo+quiero+t aco+ad&total=3&start=0&num=10&so= 0&type=search&plindex=0 Another point to consider when using humor in advertising is that different things are funny to different people. A commercial that may leave one person gripping their sides from laughter may leave a bad taste in another’s mouth. The target market must always be considered - as well as the context in which the message will be experienced. What’s funny in a client presentation may not be funny on an airplane, at a country club or in a hospital. Despite being wildly popular, some Latin Americans accused the dog of being a thinly veiled ethnic stereotype. Taco Bell denied this - but stopped showing the dog in advertisements in 2000. “One of the major keys to a successful humorous campaign is variety, once a commercial starts to wear out there’s no saving it without some variation on the concept. Humorous campaigns are often expensive because they have to be constantly changed. Advertisers must remember that while making the customer laugh, they have to keep things interesting, because old jokes die along with their products.” Mark Levit is managing partner of Partners & Levit Advertising and a professor of marketing at New York University. Geico's market share was far below that of the big boys like State Farm and Allstate. Geico relies on direct-to-consumer sales (through a Web site or 800 number) instead of a network of sales middlemen. While its competitors are running lots of dour ads that exploit our fear of accidents, Geico stands out from the clutter with its oddball humor and lighthearted tone. The company has managed to inject fun into a product that we resent having to buy and that we associate with miserable moments. Humor as a Presentational Device in Broadcast Public Service Announcements. Swanson, D. J. On a daily basis, American television and radio audiences experience broadcast Public Service Announcements (PSAs), each promoting "some kind of social or economic action deemed beneficial" (Stridsberg, 1977). Often, these announcements employ humor as a presentational device to help stimulate the behavioral change needed to bring about "beneficial" action. Five categories most commonly used in PSAs: analogy, burlesque, caricature, parody, and satire Some suggestions for using humor effectively in PSAs include: 1. verify that the campaign and subject matter are appropriate; 2. identify the target audience and campaign objectives sought; 3. use a single unified theme over and over; 4. employ positive reinforcement of behavior; and 5. bring media gatekeepers and community opinion leaders into the process. The Lord Group, an agency in New York, took a different creative approach -- casual humor -- to bring attention to a serious health issue. A television campaign for the March of Dimes encourages women to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid, which could prevent birth defects. Avoiding a stodgy approach that would have, say, delineated the chemical effects of folic acid, the commercials show a live stork arriving at an office to tell an employee she is pregnant. As the visitor inches its way through the cubicles, employees react differently: a woman tries to lure the stork closer with a sandwich and a man climbs on his chair to avoid it. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111100627.htm ''Humor gives it a more contemporary tone,'' said Penny Redfern, an associate creative director at Lord, so ''you don't necessarily realize it's a P.S.A.'' She said that to change the behavior of a target audience, ''you've got to shake them up.'' ''Just giving them the information straight, they're not going to change,'' she said. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/01/business/media-business-advertisingpublic-service-campaigns-try-catch-attention-public.html Ad campaign uses humor to fight colon cancer Polyp Man is the new villain in public service announcements encouraging colon cancer screening. NEW YORK (CNN) -- It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's Polyp Man, and he's no superhero. He's the villain in a series of public service announcements being sent out to television stations this week. Dressed in red tights and a bulbous red suit, Polyp Man runs from doctors in scenes reminiscent of "Cops" or "NYPD Blue." The point of the ads is to persuade people to get tested for colon cancer. The tag line for the ad is "Get the test, get the polyp, get the cure." Everyone over age 50 is supposed to get tested, but only about 44 percent actually do, according to the cancer society. The society estimates that half of all colon cancer deaths could be prevented if everyone got screening. The voice-over says, "Colon cancer almost always starts with a polyp. Get the polyp early and stop colon cancer before it even starts." The comedic approach to a health issue is a dramatic departure from tradition. For example, in 1990, the American Cancer Society ran PSA's showing graveyard scenes to make their point, but the ads didn't work, Eyre said. "We've done focus groups by the dozens and people find it motivational," Eyre said. "They get the message and recognize it's colon cancer and are supposed to go to their doctor and get a test." He said only about 10 percent of the focus group members objected to the ads for making light of a serious subject. A humor-based mass media campaign backed by the Bay Program that urged people to “save the crabs…then eat ’em” successfully raised local awareness about the Bay while drawing notice from across the country. Further, the “Chesapeake Club” mass media campaign that was tested in the metro Washington area this spring caused some people to alter the way they use lawn fertilizers, according to a follow-up survey. That was a surprise, given the modest $300,000 advertising budget for the seven-week campaign. http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=2606 “We were able to move the needle in terms of behavior and awareness, and that in itself was really quite an accomplishment,” said Judy Landers, project director for the nonprofit Academy for Educational Development, which designed the campaign. “We honestly didn’t expect as much of an impact as our survey said that we got.” The aim of the campaign was to get people to postpone fertilizer use until the fall to reduce the potential for springtime nutrient runoff, which is particularly harmful to Bay water quality. The campaign, launched in late February, implied that by reducing fertilizer use, people could help save the crabs—which are susceptible to poor water quality—so they could be caught and eaten. It used television ads, brochures, coasters, subway placards and other outreach efforts, and enlisted a number of lawn care companies and chefs to promote the campaign. http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=2606 TYPES Comparison Putting two or more elements together to produce a humorous situation. TYPES Personification - Attributes human characteristics to animals, plants and objects. The Benson & Hedges advertisement depicting cigarettes engaging in human-like activities is an example of personification. TYPES Exaggeration - Overstating and magnifying something out of proportion. Thirty-eight dollars in change in your checkout line. Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks? Speed up slow transactions with the super fast TM-H6000 III receipt printer. Puns - Using elements of language to create new meanings. “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” “It leaves you breathless.” “Promise her anything, but give her Arpege.” “I want my Maypo.” “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken.” “Where’s the beef?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0 “Mikey likes it!” “Bet you can’t eat just one.” “The dogs kids love to bite.” “Leggo my Eggo.” “Nuttin,’ honey.” “Got milk?” “Ribbit. Ribbit, Ribbit. Ribbit.” “Can you hear me now?” “Without us, some guys would starve.” “iThink, therefore iMac.” “What’s in YOUR wallet?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPjkDPAbdRk&feature=related “You are now free to move about the country.” Consumer brands have always aimed to amuse, with promotions we all remember images and memorable slogans http://www.stepinsidedesign.com/STEPMagazine/Article/28700 Visual word play One in a million Last but not least One thing after another http://www.corsinet.com/braincandy/slogans.html Try to figure out the phone number… Funeral home services billboard ad Sarcasm - blatant ironic responses or situations. Of course she'll take her time in the checkout line. That's, like, the perfect place for, like, guys to check you out. Speed up slow transactions with the super fast TM-H6000 III receipt printer. Silliness - ranges from making funny faces to ludicrous situations such as the one created in the commercials for "1800-Collect,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkLA0YnkpSM Surprise - where humor arises from unexpected situations. IN a new advertising campaign for computer printers, Hewlett-Packard gently pokes fun at its own engineers in an effort to make its technology seem more accessible. The ads, created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, propose wacky uses for Hewlett-Packard printers and bear the slogan ''Built by engineers, used by normal people.'' Arlene D. King, the peripherals advertising manager for the Hewlett-Packard Company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., said: ''We are using humor to help humanize the brand. We wanted to say something that would set us apart, because in high tech it looks like everyone is saying the same thing.'' In one spot, a baby-sitting grandfather quiets his screaming granddaughter by printing out a color copy of her mother's face, pasting it over his own and rocking her to sleep. New focus Hewlett-Packard's digital photography products featuring the Kinks' song "Picture Book" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOnif6BC0kc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AoAJOF5GVQ Humor Pitch The virgin wool joke is a good one because it mimics what some people must think when they’re trying to figure out the difference between one product and another. The tonality of this joke fits well with the sternlooking stamped image of Gert Boyle and the casual shot of the socks. http://www.thirdwayblog.com/cate gory/columbia-sportswear/ You never stop driving a BMW Are there rules to using humor? You decide, but consider the following 10 dos and don'ts as guidelines: 1. Don't over-analyze a humorous idea. It's funny, or it's not. As Mark Twain said, "Trying to figure out why something is funny is like dissecting a frog. You'll come up with answers, but the frog always dies.“ 2. Don't use humor for its own sake. Make it relevant to your objective. 3. Don't use humor to deceive or tell a lie. It's a scientific fact that humor intensifies positive physical and psychological reactions; deceit will undermine these good feelings and supplant them with anger and resentment. 4. Do use humor to entertain. People love to be entertained. (What do you do in your free time?) 5. Do use humor to be thought-provoking, but not offensive. http://www.myprofessionaladvertising.com/Humo r%20in%20Advertising.htm 6. Slapstick, irony and word play are techniques, but what is the idea/information you want to convey? 7. Do let your reader/listener/viewer experience the joy of "getting it." You'll make a friend. 8. Do engage the imagination of your customers. 9. Do the homework on your customer. Humor comes from knowing your audience inside-out. Humor can be a powerful strategy in communication. But remember... Each culture has its own style of humor Humor is difficult to export Humor often involves wordplay and very colloquial expressions Humor requires knowledge of a language Understanding humor requires an in-depth understanding of culture Travel ad Summertime in London Avoid the following: ethnic-type humor, stereotyping, sexist, off-color, cultural, or religious humor Political humor can be effective in certain circumstances Be aware of the types of humor appreciated by your various audiences When in doubt, play it safe and avoid humor. Americans, in particular, begin speeches with a joke. Take caution when taking this style to other cultures What information is being reinforced by humor here?