Friday, 1 July 2011

Show me the funny

Funny is good, funny is memorable, funny sticks, funny makes money.

In the same way you’re not going to tell someone about that coach journey where you remembered your ticket, found your seat, sat facing forward for a bit before arriving at your correct destination,  you'll dine-out for weeks on that National Express journey, where a man (smelling suspiciously of Zoflora) projectile vomited over the teenager reading the NME before nonchalantly pulling out a cigarette and asking the coach driver if he 'had a light?'. 

The same is for copywriting. 

Of course you can deliver the reader safely from A to B, serving up salient key points and tit bits of information along the way, before directing them to C – a shuttle bus to the appropriate website. 

Or, you can take them Dukes of Hazzard style.

Blazing a trail through your content, narrowly avoiding haystacks, before throwing them, hungry for more, at the dusty boots of Daisy Duke. 

Of course it depends on who you’re writing for. The above technique doesn’t necessarily apply to Saga Magazine.

'Punny' Funny

As copywriters we're happy to litter our work with puns, the gentlest form of comedy, which allows your audience to ‘muh-huh’ inwardly.  But to go all out funny requires the talent and courage to stick to your wit.

But if you can do it, do it. 

Why funny is good

Funny is memorable
Funny ads and virals stick in everyone's mind. 

However, you want people to remember what you are marketing, whether it is you, a product, service or idea.   

For example, how often have you had this conversation?

“Have you seen that advert? You know, the one where the man is dressed up like a big moth, and he goes to a buy a tent, and his hair’s all funny and...Oh, you remember, he’s a big fat moth...”

“No. What’s it for?”

“I can’t remember. A car I think.”

When recalling your copy, will your audience remember what is being promoted?   

Big brands, like Cadbury for example, can afford to go ‘off-road funny’, as proved with their series of adverts featuring drumming gorillas and dancing dry cleaning. However, as a copywriter don’t upstage who or what you are promoting.

Ideally the funny should be the ketchup on the banger, not the banger itself.   

Funny sells

Funny is a powerful weapon when it comes to raising interest and increasing sales.  

In the same way children are drawn to anything with a smiley face, humour breaks down barriers and makes a warm, fuzzy connection with your users. 

Funny spreads

The only thing that garners a response quicker than a Facebook update saying ‘OMG! I just found out my DNA test results!’ is a funny status update.

We all know that social media is the font at which pretty much all forward thinking companies and individuals worship, and nothing will put you on the social media map quicker than consistently witty updates. 

So, if you want to be taken seriously, put your money in funny.   

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