min read

The Power Of Humor In Marketing

December 27, 2022
January 8, 2024
Listen on Apple Podcasts

The Guest

Patrick Gilmore is the Marketing Director and Head of Humor at Studio Gilmore, a creative consultancy out of the UK that helps global brands inject the power of humor into their communications. He has nearly two decades experience working in advertising as a copywriter, creative, communications executive and strategist and he’s here today to tickle our funny bone about humor in marketing.

Early Fascination with Humor

Patrick Gilmore, with his extensive background in marketing and a unique focus on humor, has become a go-to expert in blending comedy with brand communications. His journey from a copywriter and creative executive to founding a humor consultancy is as intriguing as it is informative. Patrick's interest in humor isn't a recent development. "I did my masters in history and art,” he shares, “and one of the things I examined was how avant-garde groups used humor to communicate." His academic exploration, particularly the study of Andy Warhol's use of humor and pop culture, paved the way for his humor-based advertising consultancy.

Humor in Brand Communication

When discussing the role of humor in brand communications, Patrick emphasizes its dual nature as both universal and individually specific. "The way a brand can use humor well, is by looking at common themes within their brand, the audience, and the object of the humor," he explains. This approach involves aligning commonalities and demographic information to craft humor that resonates.

Scientific Approach to Humor

Patrick's method is deeply rooted in psychological research, using tools like the Humor Styles Questionnaire to tailor humorous campaigns. He understands that businesses often view marketing with seriousness, but he believes humor can be a powerful tool. "In a funny way, the more serious a subject, the more appropriate the use of humor," he states, citing Comic Relief's success in addressing serious issues like homelessness through humor.

The Vampire Effect and Humorous Advertising

However, Patrick cautions against the pitfalls of humor in advertising. He warns of the "Vampire Effect," where an overly funny ad might overshadow the brand itself. "For humor to be successful in an ad, it has to be a playful interaction," he advises.

Humor and Brand Purpose

In the era of brand purpose, the balance between seriousness and humor can be tricky, but Patrick sees this as an opportunity. He draws an analogy with dating: "No one has ever come home from a first date remarking positively on the seriousness of their date, but a sense of humor... has been noted as a signal of confidence." This insight reflects the impact humorous brand communication can have on an audience.

The Links

Studio Gilmore

Patrick Gilmore on LinkedIn

Humor in Advertising: A Cross-Cultural Study

The Effect of Humor on Advertising Comprehension

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