Humor humour,?according to ancient theory, any of four bodily fluids that determined man’s health and temperament. Hippocrates postulated that an imbalance among the humours (blood, phlegm, black bile. Yellow bile) resulted in pain and disease. That good health was ?is used to sell products. There are many types of humour
and different hinds are used most effectively with different media. This
article looks at various hinds of humour and how often they’re used
in print and television advertisements A television advertisement, advert or commercial is a form of advertising in which goods, services, organizations, ideas, etc. are promoted via the medium of television. , helping managers determine when
–. When not –. To use humour.
Humour is often used in print and television media to sell products.
How effective is it? It depends on how you look at it
While it’s used frequently, humour in advertising remains
controversial. On the one hand, humour has been credited with calling
attention to an advertisement [8,9,15], increasing comprehension of the
ad , contributing to the positive attitude towards the ad [1,3,4] and
enhancing the positive attitude towards the advertised product . On
the other hand, the use of humour may not be suitable for certain
products or services, is thought to lead to faster advertising
“wear out”. , may offend some members of the audience and
may result in the so-called “vampire vampire,?in folklore, animated corpse that sucks the blood of humans. Belief in vampires has existed from the earliest times and has given rise to an amalgam of legends and superstitions. ?effect,”. Where the humour
sucks attention away from the advertised product/message [2,14].
When deciding whether to use humour, therefore, it’s important
to think about your audience, your message, your medium, your product
and, last but not least, the type of humour. This last component has been
overlooked in most of the research previously done on advertising in the
media. Could prove helpful to decision makers.
As previous research has revealed [17,18], our study shows that
humour is used more frequently in television commercials than print
advertisements. For the most part, however, previous research has lumped
all of “humour”. Into one, indiscriminant category. In this
article, we'll look at different types of humour and which types are
used most by which media The main purpose of this study is to help
managerial decision makers use humour most effectively by considering the
types of humour available to them.
Seven Reasons To Laugh
In a nutshell, our study set out to determine whether the type of
humour used in advertising varies by medium. We found that it does, which
suggests that managers should definitely consider the type of humour as a
variable in their decision to use –. Not use –. Humour in their
particular advertisements. In other words Adv. 1. in other words –. Otherwise stated. “in other words, we're broke”
put differently , different types of humour are
more effective and better suited to different types of media, as
we’ll see a little later in this article.
Since most research over the years hasn't recognized different
types of humour, there is no universally accepted classification, or
“taxonomy taxonomy:?see classification.
In biology, the classification of organisms into a hierarchy of groupings, from the general to the particular, that reflect evolutionary and usually morphological relationships: kingdom, phylum, class, order, ,”. Of humour . However, more recent research has
recognized the value of developing a nomenclature nomenclature?/no·men·cla·ture/ (no´men-kla?cher) a classified system of names, as of anatomical structures, organisms, etc.
binomial nomenclature ?for the various types
of humour used in advertisements [10,13]. And some researchers have
grouped humour into categories that are either conceptual, theoretically
oriented [11,12], technique-oriented  or applied,
To establish consistency with the scant previous research that's
considered different types of humour, we used Reick’s
practitioner-oriented classification system. This system defined five
types of humour: exaggeration Exaggeration
legendary giant, hero of tall tales of the logging camps. [Am. Folklore: The Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyon]Jenkins’. Ear
trivial cause of a great quarrel. [Br. Hist. , pun pun,?use of words, usually humourous, based on (a) the several meanings of one word, (b) a similarity of meaning between words that are pronounced the same. (c) the difference in meanings between two words pronounced the same and spelt somewhat similarly, e.g. , put-down put·down?or put-down
1. A dismissal or rejection, especially in the form of a critical or slighting remark: “Such answers were, perhaps still are, a . . . , silliness and surprise.
To provide a more complete –. More clearly delineated de·lin·e·ate?
tr.v. de·lin·e·at·ed, de·lin·e·at·ing, de·lin·e·ates
1. To draw or trace the outline of. Sketch out.
2. To represent pictorially. Depict.
3. ?picture –
we added two more categories: comparison and personification personification,?figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstract ideas are endowed with human qualities, e.g., allegorical morality plays where characters include Good Deeds, Beauty. Death. .
Here’s how we define each of these terms:
1. Comparison –. Putting two or more elements together to produce a
humourous situation. An example is a magazine advertisement for Hewlett
Packard. On one page the ad features a happy family in a Christmas
picture that's to be sent to the grandmother. Everything would be
perfect if the son didn't look like a punk in a leather jacket (Zool.) A California carangoid fish (Oligoplites saurus).
A trigger fish (Balistes Carolinensis).
See also: Leather Leather , chains
and an outrageous hair-do. The second page of the ad presents the same
picture. This time with a very conservative son who's nicely
dressed with clean, short hair. With the help of HP PhotoSmart Hewlett-Packard’s line of digital cameras and photo printers is called Photosmart. Digital cameras
The original HP digital camera was a CompactFlash-based model simply called the Photosmart. It was a VGA-resolution camera with a simple LCD. ?System,
which allows modification of pictures, the ad claims the
“grandmother spared holiday shock, heirs breathe easy.”
2. Personification –. Attributes human characteristics to animals,
plants and objects. The Benson &. Hedges advertisement depicting
cigarettes engaging in human-like activities is an example of
personification (see Figure 1).
3. Exaggeration –. Overstating and magnifying something out of
proportion. One of Wendy’s commercials makes use of exaggeration as
two young men order “4 Biggie big·gie?
1. A very important person: “hassles between executive biggies”?New York.
2. ?Fries and 4 Biggie Drinks”. At a
drivethru. As soon as they pick up the order, the car tilts on one side.
4. Pun –. Using elements of language to create new meanings, which
result in humour. The phrase “absolute masterpiece”. Takes on a
new meaning when it's pictured with Absolut Vodka (see Figure 2).
5. Sarcasm –. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by. On the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. ?Reick, sarcastic sar·cas·tic?
1. Expressing or marked by sarcasm.
2. Given to using sarcasm.
[sarc(asm) + -astic, as in enthusiastic. ?comments or situations
are classified as silliness. In our study, however, sarcasm is a
separate category including blatant ironic responses or situations. An
advertisement for Lexmark features a sister and a brother in conflict.
The brother, with his legs up on the desk, is thinking of printing
“some sort of a real cool sign”. His room. The
sister’s sarcastic response is “How about ‘For
6. Silliness –. In this study, silliness ranges from making funny
faces to ludicrous situations such as the one created in the commercials
for “1800-Collect,”. When a couple of muscular men run around
the beach on their toes to avoid the hot sand. Another example is the
commercial for the Weather Channel in which two men paint their faces
red and blue in an effort to predict the weather.
7. Surprise –. Includes all advertisements where humour arises from
unexpected situations. The advertisement for Primestar Satellite TV
makes good use of the surprise element to arrive at a hilarious outcome.
The ad starts with a man carefully washing his car. Just before he gives
the car a kiss, he notices a giant pipe rolling down rolling down
The liquidation of an option position by an investor at the same time that he or she takes an essentially identical position with a lower strike price. ?the street towards
him. In a state of desperation, the man manages to quickly move his car.
As he breathes a sigh of relief, the punch line punch line
The climactic phrase or statement of a joke, producing a sudden humourous effect.
the last line of a joke or funny story that gives it its point
Noun 1. ?hits the audience: The
car is badly damaged as he saves the satellite dish satellite dish
A dish antenna used to receive and transmit signals relayed by satellite.
A parabolic antenna used to receive signals relayed by satellite. , which he initially
intended to protect by moving his car.
How We Conducted the Study
Once we clearly defined the types of humour, we analysed the content
of advertisements appearing on television and magazines. We selected the
following magazines for their diverse target audience:
Fortune (bi-monthly) –. One issue per month between January 1997 and
June 1998 was randomly selected
New Woman (monthly) –. Every issue between January 1997 and June
Time (weekly) –. Every issue between January 1997 and June 1998.
The sample consisted of 4,064 advertisements in all. Duplicates
weren't included. We also selected television commercials broadcast
during the week of June 15, 1998 to June 21, 1998 on cable television in
Sacramento, California “Sacramento”. Redirects here. For other uses, see Sacramento (disambiguation).
Sacramento is the capital of the State of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. . All specific channels and times are illustrated
in Exhibit 1. We recorded a total of 633 commercials, excluding
duplicate commercials and commercials about shows and movies.
The categories of humour we outlined earlier made it easy to
classify the advertisements. Contributed to the reliability and
validity of our analysis. In those few cases where the advertisement
displayed more than one category of humour, we selected the type of humour
that was judged to predominate.
As previous research has shown, our study revealed that humour is
used more in television commercials than print advertisements (see
Exhibit 2). These findings support the belief of advertising and
creative executives that television is a more effective channel to use
But there’s much more to the story than that. As shown in
Exhibit 3, our study reveals that the type of humour used in television
and magazine advertisements differed (chi square chi square (kī),
n a nonparametric statistic used with discrete data in the form of frequency count (nominal data) or percentages or proportions that can be reduced to frequencies. ?=27.65, p=.000O1).
“Sarcasm”. Is the most popular form of humour used in magazines,
while “silliness”. Predominates in television.
What're the managerial implications of all of this? First,
it’s important to decide whether or not to use humour at all in your
advertisements. Humour may not he appropriate or effective when
advertising certain types of products. The type of product can also
determine the best execution style, how to best communicate a message
and how effective a television commercial will be as measured by recall,
comprehension and persuasiveness.
According to previous research , the most effective execution
styles for various products aren't always those used (which indicates
that more research may be needed in the future).
Previous research also indicates that the demographic and
psychological charactristics of the target audience may very well have
an impact on how effective humour in advertisements will be. For example,
research has found that using humour in advertisements has a positive
effect on attitude and purchase intentions for individuals whose need
Main article: Elaboration likelihood model
The need for cognition, in psychology, is a personality variable reflecting the extent to which people engage in and enjoy effortful cognitive activities. ?is low rather than high .
Our study goes beyond most previous research to consider the
various types of humour and which types might be most effective under
which circumstances. The fact that certain types of humour are used more
often by different media suggests that the effectiveness of the type of
humour may differ by medium. Different types of humour may be better
suited for different types of products as well.
In short, it’s important to consider the type of humour when
making a management decision about whether or not to use humour in the
execution of advertisements. For example, presenting your message using
silliness may be well received by the target audience, whereas sarcasm
may be offensive. Considering humour type –. Rather than a single,
generalized category –. Should refine and improve managerial decision
(1.) Belch belch
To expel stomach gas noisily through the mouth. Burp. , G.E. and M.A. Belch. “An Investigation of the
Effects of Repetition on Cognitive and Affective affective?/af·fec·tive/ (ah-fek´tiv) pertaining to affect.
1. Concerned with or arousing feelings or emotions. Emotional.
2. ?Reactions to Humourous
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See also Unattainability.
belling the cat
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v. mad·dened, mad·den·ing, mad·dens
1. To make angry. Irritate.
2. To drive insane.
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A hearty, boisterous burst of laughter.
intr.v. guf·fawed, guf·faw·ing, guf·faws
To laugh heartily and boisterously.
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MI: Division of Research, Michigan Business School, University of
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EXHIBIT 1. TELEVISION SAMPLING SCHEDULE
Time Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
9:00 am-11:00 am X
10:00 am-noon X
11:30 am-1:3O pm X
6:00 pm-8:00 pm X
8:00 pm -10:00 pm X
10:30 pm-1:30 am X
Television commercials were recorded from all the following television
channels. CBS, FOX, MTV, TNT, ESPN, KMAX, KOCA, CMDY during the
EXHIBIT 2. THE USE OF HUMOR BY MEDIA
Medium Total # of Ads Total # of Humourous Ads % Humourous Ads
Magazine 4064 201 4.95%
Television 633 166 26.22%
EXHIBIT 3. TYPE OF HUMOR BY MEDIA FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE
Type of Humour Magazine Television Total
Comparison 29 9 38
Exaggeration 17 12 29
Personification 26 25 51
Pun 37 25 62
Sarcasm 47 21 68
Silliness 29 48 77
Surprise 16 26 42
Total 201 166 367