TBS television network has recognized the value of humor in commercials by creating a show called "TBS Funniest Commercials." Besides the entertainment value of funny commercials, humor does sell, as long as it supports your pitch and attracts the viewer to your purpose (see References). There are certain themes and characters to consider including in your ad because they tend to attract a positive reaction in viewers and can easily be associated with your product or service.
Children are often used for comedic relief in commercials. A baby that talks or acts like an adult is a common theme since it is so unusual. E-Trade's "Talking Baby" commercial, which first appeared during Superbowl XLII, increased the visibility of the company's stock trading services through comedy. Consider one of the following themes involving kids for your commercial: talking, dancing or silly babies, kids behaving badly or kids taking on the role of adults.
Cats and Other Animals
Cute cats or dogs in commercials tend to make people smile. Fresh Step used this theme in a commercial called "Bloodhound" in which the cat and dog team up to find the cat's litter box. Royal Mail, the postal service of the United Kingdom, used a dancing cat in a successful commercial spot to sell personalized stamps (see Resources). In fact, any animal taking on a human role, such as talking, acting or working in an office, as is the case in Vitamin Water's "Mother Nature" ad spots, is a safe bet for a funny commercial.
The beauty of using a blooper reel, real or staged, for a funny commercial is that it instantly grabs attention, gets a chuckle and is hard to forget. Once you have the viewer's attention, you have to immediately give him your pitch or else the value, to you as the advertiser, or the commercial will be lost. A blooper commercial is a good idea if your goal is to build brand recognition for your product or service since a blooper is memorable but may not prompt immediate action from the viewer. An example of this would be the "Peyton Manning Priceless Blooper" commercials produced by MasterCard.
Keep in mind that the bloopers have to be related to the point of the commercial (the product or service being sold) or else you risk losing your audience. In other words, the viewer will not get the point and may be annoyed and mystified instead of intrigued. Pick a reel that makes sense in relation to your product. For instance, a blooper reel where someone runs into a pole would work for a company selling eye glasses or contacts.
Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.