Humor In Advertising (1973). Essay

1167 words - 5 pages

Humor in Advertising (1973)INTRODUCTIONThis article a major and pioneering study on humor in advertising, and many posterior articles used its results and explore them further. It is a given fact that marketers have increasingly employed humor as the motivation basis to make an advertisement more appealing and persuasive. This practice is based on the belief that the humor can be an effective persuasive tool. However, there is no straightforward evidence of the effectiveness of humor. There two sets of opinions concerning to humor. First, some argue that humor is a universal language that humanizes advertising, allowing the communicator to speak to the audience on their own level. On the other hand, opponents think that humor is not universal (humor might be differ in different geographic areas). Also, humor might not e persuasive in the long run, because it wears out if used repeatedly. Employing humor involves some risk: If humor does work out, it turns to be a disaster; if it does, it can be very effective (Phillips 1968). Furthermore, humor can be very effective if used as a means and not as an end in itself (Hepner, 1963).After this the first empirical questions arises: Is humor an effective means of persuasion, or is a humorous message more influential than a serious version of the same appeal? There is no unanimity on the answer of this question. This study has the following structure: First, it examines the concept of humor; Then, the discussion is divided into two major sections; (1) humor and creative strategy and (2) humor and vehicle selection. Finally, criteria for humor research are developed and future directions indicated.HUMOR DEFINEDDefine the word humor with a scientific precision is a very difficult task. Several approaches have been employed to explain this concept. The first one characterizes humor in terms of its stimulus property. So, the presence of humor in advertisements will be determined based on if jokes, incongruity, understatements, satire, puns, etc...were used. Another approach entails an examination of the responses elicited to an identifiable stimulus. In other words, humor can be defined in terms of smiles, laughs exhibited by an audience when they responding to a particular message. However, these same laughs and smiles are quite difficult to measure in a scale and to interpret. Another problem is that these manifestations might be cause by some sort if nervous energy release rather than a humorous appeal. The third approach defines humor in terms of a perceptual response of an audience. Basically, it tries to explain how individuals by taking a pencil-and-paper test will express whether they perceived or not a message to be humorous and entertaining. This was the approach that the authors used in this study.HUMOR AS A BASIS FOR CREATIVE STRATEGYAn Advertising Practitioner's ApproachThere is a consensus among advertisers that humor can enhance the attention of the audience, at least during the fist exposures...

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