Over the years advertisers have used every trick in the book to try and part us from our hard-earned cash. From Freud’s psychological theories to straight-out shock tactics – they’ve even used the Pope to try and sell us booze (pictured). We’re bombarded by advertising, day in, day out, our whole lives, and as a result, we’re a lot savvier when it comes to subliminal messages and advertisers have increasingly had to think outside the box to win us over.
Of all the tacks the marketing men have tried, they’ve found that it’s more than just sex that sells – a good chuckle can work wonders too. Humourous ads are now a serious marketing tool in today’s internet age; when an ad makes us laugh, we’re more likely to share, leading to every marketing man’s dream – a viral smash hit.
We’ve taken a look at some of the comic tropes that the ad men have used to crack us up over the years, some inadvertently so…
Turning advertising’s traditional lust for youth on its head is a sure-fire way to make us sit up and take notice. The latest campaign from Jackpotjoy (below), featuring newly crowned Queen of Bingo Barbara Windsor, shows some OAP speed freaks drag racing their mobility scooters like there’s no tomorrow. It’s not the first time we’ve seen pensioners deployed to grab our attention on screen, and it won’t be the last. It’s essentially a classic comedy trope that’s at least as old as the advert’s stars – from Monty Python’s Hell’s Grannies to Malcolm in the Middle’s terrifying grandma, golden oldies have had us creasing up for decades.
Team some classic shock factor with a splash of celebrity and you know you’re into a winner. Not only do we love a celeb who’s not afraid to poke fun at themselves, you only need to glance at Heat or TMZ to see that we’re a sucker for celebrity downfall – and don’t advertisers know it. Stick a celeb in an unlikely set-up and you’re guaranteed to get our attention, and no other brand has carried this off so successfully as Snickers. Now their advertising stock in trade, we’ve seen Mr. T telling speedwalkers to get some nuts, and Betty White take one for the team, but our favourite comes courtesy of Dynasty diva Joan Collins. Tossing sweaty jock straps around a stinky men’s locker room, she’s turned the phrase “zip it shrimpy” into a stone cold comedy classic.
Car crash comedy…
Some adverts are so hideous, so pretentious, so downright awful that we can’t help but crease up. Enter Brad Pitt in the latest ad campaign for Chanel No. 5. We’re not sure what Brad was thinking when he agreed to sign up to this, but we’re left awestruck by the man’s ability to deliver this kind of pseudo-philosophical claptrap while keeping a straight face – we sure couldn’t. Brad’s reputation may now lay in tatters, but the ad worked – it’s a viral smash. Spawning spoofs all over the place, whether it was intentional or not, this little head-scratcher has got us talking about Chanel’s signature perfume all over again.