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Humorous | Tuesday, 25th August 2015

Humorous versus Emotional – Marketing a Brand

Written by Melissa Manthos

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.’ – Tom Fishburne

We live in a world where we are bombarded with thousands of images each day, varying from a picture on Facebook to an advert on a billboard, from a logo at the supermarket to a sponsor on a magazine. We see so many images every day that we have reached a point where we no longer notice them. Can you recall the last advert you’ve seen today? I certainly can’t.

Our brain filters all the messages we see and only picks the ones that are of interest to us. I find it absolutely amazing how, when I am in need of something, I suddenly notice an advert placed right in front of my eyes. “Well, isn’t that a nice coincidence?” I tell myself, when in actual fact that advert was there all along, my brain just never had the need to register it.

The fundamental question to ask is: with all the messages that are thrown at us at different times and with different tools, what makes a brand truly stand out from the crowd? The answer is relatively simple: you want your audience to react to your brand, you want them to have feelings for the company. How do you that? Simple. You target their emotions.

As an audience, consumers mostly enjoy being entertained instead of hearing sales pitches, and so appealing to them emotionally can lead to further engagement with your brand. Targeting the feelings of the audience is a tactic that has been used by companies for the past couple of years, some have done it in excellent ways right from the start while others had to learn from their mistakes. There are two ways to target your audience’s feelings, and that is by
either making them laugh out loud or by aiming at their heart and making them relate to the brand.

Let’s have a look at humorous marketing.

I would like to use as an example the Apple’s television ad ‘Get a Mac’ which aired from 2006 to 2009.

What Apple had managed to do in those years was to create short, funny, simple yet effective and entertaining clips which described why getting a Mac was better than a pc. The use of sarcasm in the clips is so subtle that the message does not come across as offensive, but simply as funny. What made those adverts so effective was the fact that they were just a few seconds long and the use of humor is a recurrent theme in all the clips, that besides managing to grab the audience’s attention, it also managed to keep it engaged and wishing for more clips.

On a separate note, for the wrong use of humor in marketing you should take a look at the Mercedes 2007 commercial: ‘beauty is nothing without brains’.

In the advert we can see a blonde woman walking into a library and ordering a take away meal. When the librarian points out that it is in actual fact a library, the woman repeats her order while whispering. The clip ends with the caption ‘beauty is nothing without brains’. To be very honest, I did giggle when I first saw the clip, but what made me dislike the Mercedes advert was their slogan. And no, I am not taking this personally just because I am a blonde woman. The clip felt very insulting to many women, and has been criticized for the stereotypical use of blonde women (ha!) and the association that a good looking woman cannot also be smart.

It is very important to keep in mind that there is a fine line when using humor in marketing, as a message could be misunderstood and then everything could back fire. When using humor one must be very careful to make sure that it does not come across as offensive. Remember that things are funny to different people, and what may leave a person in tears from laughter may leave a bad taste in someone else’s mouth.

Now let’s talk about emotional marketing.

This is another great way to market your band. You want to create an invisible bond between your customers and your brand, you want to make them relate to you and make them feel like they are part of your brand. You do that by targeting their emotions, because what you want is your brand to trigger a positive feeling to the customer. What you are trying to achieve is for them to wish to be your brand. Nike uses this type of marketing constantly; it makes you believe that wearing Nike will make you an athlete, that you will achieve the unachievable. It boosts the customers self esteem and motivation. People become passionate about this brand, and start to believe that by purchasing Nike they become someone else.
Egocentrism is an important aspect to keep in mind. As humans we have the desire to fit in with the others, to be accepted. We do this from a very young age, when we start building relationships with friends, teachers, and then move on to partners and colleagues. Loneliness may be one of the human being’s biggest fears. We are egocentric because we care about the way we look, what we do, what we want to achieve and what people think of us, because those are all factors that will influence our relationship with the world. Deep down we all strive for success and standing out. Through emotional marketing this is what you do, you make your audience believe that with your brand one is no longer anyone but becomes someone. There is a sense of belonging.

In 2013 Pepsi created a fan-made intro to Beyonce’s halftime show of the Super Bowl.

You, as a consumer, had the opportunity to have your face shown in front of over 108 million Americans at one of the most important events of the year, the Super Bowl. All one had to do was upload a picture of themselves on Pepsi.com and wait. By the end of the campaign, over 100,000 fans had submitted pictures. What better way is there at targeting your audience’s ego than by making them feel part of your brand?

As a CEO, company, brand, marketer or employee you should never forget that your target audience is human, a person that thinks, feels and can react both positive and negative to what you are trying to sell. No one likes to feel like a number, and it is your job to make sure that the message you are sending entertains the audience and makes them feel important.

“Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

Melissa Manthos

a little more about

Melissa Manthos,

Melissa is the definition of multiculturalism: she is half French and half Greek, has lived for over a decade in Libya and her mother tongue is Italian. She is a social media freak who loves writing and photography. You can find her 365 days a year at the beach, her natural habitat.