In many settings, advertisements tend to be ignored or overlooked. When flipping through a magazine, you probably skip past the ads unless something really catches your attention. The same thing applies when it comes to driving by billboards, browsing online, or interacting anywhere else where ads typically appear. That’s not ideal for an industry where companies spend billions of dollars.
One approach for ad designers to capture the attention and interest of viewers is to use humor in advertising campaigns. Most of us will stop and pay attention to ads if they grab our attention and make us laugh.
In this post, we’ll showcase 30 examples of advertisements that use humor to make an impact on viewers.
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Showcase of Funny Ads
Nikon Face Detect
Nikon created a series of humorous ads (one of the best examples of funny marketing campaigns) for their face detection camera feature. The first one shows a man posing for a picture, with the camera detecting six faces of men hiding in the trees and bushes, unknown to the man standing right in front of them.
Nikon Face Detect
The second advertisement in Nikon’s series shows two girls on a bed. the face detection points out several faces of boys watching. One is in the apartment behind the curtain, and four others are across the street watching from their own windows.
Nikon Face Detect
The third ad in Nikon’s series is a picture of a woman in an old room. The camera’s face detection is picking up the faces of three ghosts or spirits also in the room.
The pantyhose from Sauber are so see-through and unnoticeable that they’re not ideal for robbers who need a disguise. This guy is wearing one but the viewer can’t see it.
The dog food company Nutri Balance shows that if you feed your dog bad food, you’ll get a bad dog. And what does a bad dog do? In this case, the dog tugs on the curtain to reveal the feet of someone hiding behind the curtain when the woman’s husband comes home.
Softlan fabric softener created a few ads involving athletes. The first one, shown below, is a photo from a wrestling match. You can see the smiling face of one of the wrestlers who is enjoy the soft clothes of his opponent, who must have used Softlan.
The next Softlan ad depicts a funny scene from a rugby match. While players are tangled up trying to make a tackle, one of the players is hugging an opponent and smiling, enjoying his soft uniform.
If your partner isn’t using Colgate Plax, you might regret sleeping next to them. This ad shows a woman who moved her eye mask down to block her nose and mouth from the bad breath of her partner.
Allstate created a series with many TV commercials in the “Mayhem” series, one of the best examples of humor in advertising. In each ad, the actor shows something bad that can happen, and he mentions that you may not be covered if you’re using a different insurance company than Allstate. This series has become an advertising classic. The video below shows a commercial where the actor is tailgating to get to his tailgate before a football game, and he causes the driver in front of him to get into an accident. The comedy commercial was often shown during football games to reach an audience who would appreciate it.
This creative ad from Wolf Hot Sauce shows a restroom hand dryer with a photo of a man appearing to blow. His breath is so hot after eating Wolf Hot Sauce that he dries your hands quickly.
A similar advertising concept was used in the ad campaign created for Pringles Hot & Spicy. The man in the video is using his fire breath to float a hot air balloon through the sky over a city.
Uncle Sam enjoyed his Nu-Way Weiners so much that his face is covered in ketchup and mustard. This ad design uses a well-known visual and adds something unique to provide some humor.
The Surfrider Foundation uses a funny photo to make a serious point. We’ve all seen photos of fisherman displaying their catch. This ad shows a proud father and an excited son holding a bottle that was dragged in from the sea instead of a fish. Serious issues like pollution aren’t often portrayed by humorous scenes in advertisements, but the creators of this ad used a unique approach to get their message across. An unorthodox campaign like this one may require some audience testing to be sure that the message is well received.
This outdoor ad for a Panasonic nose trimmer is both funny and disturbing. You certainly wouldn’t miss this ad, so it’s highly successful at grabbing the attention of the viewer. Products like nose trimmers are challenging to market because they’re not considered to be an exciting product, but this ad shows that a funny approach can be used for just about any type of product.
This ad for 8in1 Dental Snacks for dogs shows a woman who is an unpleasant situation, something the target audience can surely relate to. Her dog has two butts instead of a head, showing that dog breath won’t smell very good if you’re not using 8in1 Dental Snacks.
Suplicy Cafe: Chemistry Genius
Suplicy’s ad shows a sleeping student with a haircut that looks like a face. Along with the glasses, he’s able to sleep in class while in disguise.
Pattex Superglue demonstrates instant hold with this creative ad. The only text on the ad is the small phrase “instant hold.” The photo does almost all of the talking. It’s an unconventional mousetrap that relies on the glue to catch the mouse. This photo creatively sells the instant hold in a way that’s funny and understandable.
Fujifim’s smile capture feature is shown here, giving away a man’s poker face. The smile capture is so good that it picks up on the slightest smile.
Noise reducing headphones that can drown out loud noises like Niagara Falls must be pretty good. This man rowing a boat has no idea he’s about to go over the falls since he’s enjoying the peacefulness created by his Bose headphones.
Kagatani wanted to showcase the sharpness of their knives, and this ad finds a clever way to do it. The text at the bottom says “Don’t drop it”, and the photo shows what might happen if you do. The woman notices a knife that was dropped in the apartment above, poking through her ceiling.
Glassex Window Cleaner is so good that a magician can use it to make a glass table invisible, making it possible to pull off the trick in this ad.
Another knife ad creatively demonstrating sharpness, WMF shows a fly that’s been cut in half by the knife.
This McDonald’s ad uses the line “come as you are” and shows Cinderella with her carriage turning back into a pumpkin. She’s getting her food at the drive through, in shock of the sudden transformation.
Sony: Theatre Atmosphere
The theater-quality sound from Sony is so good that you’ll feel like you’re right there watching the action in person. The ad, a great example of humor in marketing, shows a guy in front of his couch getting a great view of the action from a western movie.
The Eurostar train ran this funny ad promoting a trip to London. The image uses some photomanipulation techniques that could be replicated in Photoshop.
This ad shows that Burger Kings burgers are so big they might not fit into your mouth. This woman apparently cut her mouth trying to eat one of the big burgers.
Childsurance: Angry Baby
Everyone loves a funny baby picture. Childsurance takes advantage of this by using this humorous picture of an angry baby to encourage people to choose the right insurance plan for their child.
The use of humor in advertising and marketing is a great way to increase attention spans and get people to notice your ad. The examples shown here should provide some inspiration that can be used in your own creative campaigns. Even if you don’t have previous experience creating these types of campaigns, success is within reach is you explore your creativity.