Funny Business

Using humor in your marketing.
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jennifer Wilson thinks it's funny to replace the heads of gorgeous models with that of a big moose. And her customers do, too.

Wilson, 51, wanted to come up with a new twist on the oh-so-perfect manufacturers' ads that are provided to her Steamboat Springs, Colorado, clothing shop, Moose Mountain Trading Co. When her ad agency put a moose head on the models in the ads, the result was a hilarious campaign that has really resonated with Wilson's customers and even earned the blessing of the manufacturers whose ads she mutilated. Humor is a powerful tool, says Mark Silveira, author of Ordinary Advertising (and How to Avoid It Like the Plague). He gives a few tips for funny marketers:

  • Be sure the humor reinforces your product or service. Humor for humor's sake doesn't help customers remember you.
  • Humor is more than a punch line. Look for whimsical or mildly amusing twists on your message. Wilson's ads are a good example--the unexpected moose head on top of a model clad in the sweaters she sells makes a strong and funny connection without words.
  • G-rated humor for an R-rated audience probably won't fly. Advises Silveira, "If you think your audience will love it but that someone who's never set foot in your business anyway will be offended, then it might be a good risk [to take]."

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