Does Humor Sell?

During the 2010 NFL Super Bowl, Old Spice started a new marketing campaign, releasing the above commercial online and on television. It quickly became the “number one all-time most viewed” branded channel on Youtube. How did they achieve that success? By targeting women, who dominate the body wash market, and men with humor, it created for the first time a topic of conversation for couples around the nation. The marketing team also showed the commercials in certain movies where there was a “high amount of couples” were projected to go. So because of the topic of conversation that was generating millions of hits on YouTube, women began to buy Old Spice for their husbands and boyfriends so that they could “smell like the man your man can smell like.”

But how did this campaign have continued success? Old Spice continued to use the “man your man can smell like” guy and let him interact with fans all over the internet who would ask him random questions that he would answer in his fashion. In one day alone Old Spice generated more hits on Youtube than Obama’s presidential victory speech, on day two he had 8 of 11 top videos on Youtube, and by the end had over 40 million people view his videos.

The success of this campaign is astounding considering that ; the brands twitter following increased 2700%, Facebook fan interaction went up 800%, and traffic to the Old Spice website increased 300%. This made the bottom line of the company increased 107% 10 months after the release of the first Old Spice commercial.

Shortly afterwards many companies have tried to have the same success, copying the Old Spice guy commercials to a certain degree but still enjoying some success. By making some of the funniest and memorable commercials of all-time Old Spice increased their brand awareness while making people laugh and had one of the most amazing marketing campaigns for a business ever. So does humor sell? This guy thinks so.

– Ally WaltonLauren HabigErin KiffmeyerHannah EureGene Lee

17 thoughts on “Does Humor Sell?

  1. I think humor definitely does sell. The commercials I remember the most are the ones that make me laugh, like these Old Spice commercials and the Mayhem All-State commercials. The way to get attention is to elicit an emotion, and it my opinion a commercial break isn’t long enough to make you sad or angry, so go for a laugh.

    • I like this “elicit an emotion” theory of yours. I do think commercials can make you sad or angry in 30 seconds, but that wouldn’t sell anything, so humor is the obvious choice. Good thinking.

  2. Your explanation of the Old Spice commercials reminds me a lot of the Michael Jordan’s Hanes “Boxers or Briefs” commercials from back in the day. I feel like this commerical was trying to go for a similar brand image, but the “man your man can [be] like” message not as explicitly stated.
    Throughout reading the blog post I continued to think of McLean’s Agenda Setting theory which implies that media serves to influence WHAT members of a public think about, not HOW they think about it. The Old Spice campaign created a topic of conversation for couples, probably similar to the topic of conversation desired from the Hanes commercial.

  3. I think these Old Spice ad’s are proof to the fact that humor does sell. People need something memorable or else their brain simply wont retain it. With a commercial spot being so short for time, you’ve got to really make the best of it and do something special. For me personally, there is nothing better to get my attention than humor. People might make the argument that “sex sells” and that it sells more than humor. Yes, an attractive woman will get my attention for the short term, but I probably wont remember her name or what company she was representing by the time the show I was watching comes back on. However, a really funny joke will stay embedded in my brain and memory for much longer. When I see this product in the stores, I’m likely to compare it with the positive vibe their funny commercial gave me and be more likely to buy this product compared to others with boring or unfunny ad campaigns.

  4. I think that the statistics in this blog post alone show you that humor does in fact sell. Living in an age where we can fast forward through commercials, or merely change channels, it is important for companies to have some kind of hook to keep their audience engaged. Setting up a unique situation with a zany character, a talking animal, etc. reels in the audience to allow the company enough time to get their message across. Additionally, humorous commercials are much more memorable than your basic run of the mill commercials, keeping the product on the consumers mind, and often spreading to further audiences through word of mouth.

  5. Old Spice really did a good job with this commercial. The results after the commercial of consumers interest in Old Spice prove that it indeed does sell. If I was a male, I would purchase Old Spice because of the humor in the commercial. Whenever an ad wants to sell, I believe that involving humor is the best way to get the consumers attention and and make a valuable profit. I saw this commercial on T.V. and thought it was hilarious!

  6. First off, I absolutely loved this example because these ads are hilarious. Which I guess partially proves the point humor does sell. I believe that one of the best ways to get something to sell is to make it memorable. And that’s exactly what Old Spice did. I’m sure there are tons of dial soap commercials out there but I can’t remember ever seeing a single one. Although I did not run out and immediately buy my boyfriend Old Spice it definitely made me think twice on what I should buy. After all, what girl wouldn’t want their man resembling the Old Spice guy in some way?

  7. I believe that using humor is a powerful tool in advertising. Humor creates happiness, and that is why it is so addictive. Old Spice did a good job on marketing their product to both women and men. If a product is marketed to the whole population and the population embraces it, the product will achieve success. I use Old Spice body wash, and I love the product. The humor used in their ads imprinted Old Spice in my mind and the purchasing of the product was my response to the ad campaign. I believe Old Spice is trying to market to a younger generation also. My father always used old spice aftershave and cologne, and I associated the product with the older generation.
    Now the brand seems to be trying to update their image to engage a much younger audience. The brand will still attract older consumers, but it will increasingly attract individual’s of the latest generation. As long as humor is incorporated into their ad campaign, Old Spice will be memorable, and will attract many consumers.

  8. I absolutely agree that humor sells! When something makes us laugh we are more likely to remember the commercial and what it is advertising. We then are going to share it with our friends by posting the humor on Facebook or some other social media site, or just telling them about it. The Old Spice ads prove that humor makes the advertisement memorable which leads to an increase in awareness of the product, and leads to more people buying the product.

  9. Oh yeah, humor sells. Not necessarily a bad thing, since we get to see all these hilarious commercials (especially during the Superbowl!), but a thing nonetheless. Is that a testament to our naivety, to think that if we put on some Old Spice we’re going to be hilarious, or have a bunch of diamonds or anything? That’s what it sounds like. But I’d bet the truth is, when standing in the deoderant line at S-Mart, with most brands running within generally a one dollar price range of each other, people will think “Oh, I remember that funny commercial, I’ll get that one.” I wouldn’t think if Old Spice was 47 dollars a container that the funny commercial would sell it. But there is no doubt that humor makes a brand name stick in your head, and when viewing the brand while making a choice between brands, that’s just enough to push you towards it. I wonder what would happen (if they were allowed to) if cigarette companies made hilarious commercials? You think tobacco brands would see new customers? I think someone should make a funny cigarette commercial just to try it. Maybe Marlboro could partner with Old Spice, and the “Man’s man” could be sucking down a pack of smokes while pushing his deoderant. His horse could be smoking, too.

  10. Humor is one of those emotions that never fails to get me interested in something. If I am flipping between channels and the two i am watching are both on commercial, I am much more like to watch and remain engaged with one using humor as opposed to say, the ASPCA commercials. Yes, that is for a great cause, but when I am watching TV, i am trying to be entertain. No guilted in to giving money.

  11. Humor definitely sells. Making something more lively and positive it is nice to make a joke which allows the consumer to put trust and faith into the product they are buying. I personally have never wanted to use or try a product that has a straight voice with no personality and is just dull language. The humor and language used in the old spice commercials may sound silly but they are much more articulate actually makes a person think.

  12. Humor is one thing I look forward to when it comes to commercials. I always think to myself during the Super Bowl, “If all commercials had humor in them then it wouldn’t be so miserable to watch television when it’s not the Super Bowl”. So yes, humor sells, while keeping posible consumers interested in the product. Every time I see an Ols Spice commercial that catchy whistle gets stuck in my head.

  13. I definitely think that humor sells! Because of our strong desire to laugh and be happy, I feel as though we are more than likely to purchase a product that makes us feel this way. It’s a wise choice for brands to use the humor technique in their advertisements because of the huge draw for people that take it in. With my personal experience with watching advertisements, I have noticed that I am more likely to purchase something that has a positive vibe to it.

  14. I definitely believe humor sells. I mean, not in the sense that “wow that advertisement was so funny I feel compelled to go out and buy Old Spice” but by creating buzz which leads to interest which leads to an increase of sales. By being funny, people actually wanted to watch the Old Spice commercials, and they wanted to share the commercials with their friends. People brought up these commercials in conversations. People that might not have been aware of the brand before or had been uncertain about it might now stop and actually pay a bottle of Old Spice some mind while they’re shopping now. Compared to a brand that doesn’t get a lot of publicity, there’s a greater chance that someone’s going to buy Old Spice because it’s something they’re familiar with. I noticed that subsequent to these commercials, other brands have been trying to mimic the Old Spice advertisements, but I don’t think it’s nearly as successful because it’s already been done.

  15. Humor does sell, and this commercial is a great example and proof that is does. I’d say it’s fair to say that most people don’t like ads, and don’t enjoy watching commercials on the whole — except funny ones. Plenty of people watch the Super Bowl just for ads like this Old Spice one. They are the one’s that stick in our heads and like this example have become a pop culture sensation. It gives the brand so much recognition and what makes consumers buy the good next time they go shopping.

  16. I believe that a humorous appeal sells to me more than any other type of appeal, and probably to most others as well. When something is funny it becomes memorable, and after dwelling on a product or thought for so long it becomes desire able. For example, Sun drop commercials dropping it like its hot, or Doritos (keep yo hands off my mama) make me want a bag of Doritos and a sun drop when I see the commercials simply because it was so entertaining to watch. I figure it must be just as entertaining to eat and drink too! Humor is a great technique for selling, and probably the most influential one at that.

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