Humor beats discounts

Ask yourself this: To what extent has the recession modified consumer response to advertising?

Many people will be quick to respond that consumer response to advertising has dropped. People are not making as much and therefore, not spending as much. However, this theory would be wrong.

Consumers are still responding to ads but the trick is to uncover the types of advertising that appeals to them. One study shows that funny ads beat frugal ones in today’s economy. Perhaps the stress of the downed economy is relieved a bit with a humorous ad. Maybe people need to see something that makes them smile, instead of something that reminds them of how tight their budgets are.

A study done by Nielson shows us that funny actually beats frugal when it comes to advertising.

The Findings

  • Humorous ads have consistently resonated best with viewers, regardless of the economy or year
  • During the recession, there was a notable lift in effectiveness of sentimental and value-oriented ads
  • Ads focused on product features and promotion/price do not resonate with viewers . . . . even during  tough economic times
  • The performance of narrative and sentimental ads has improved since 2006

Nielsen Report on Funny vs Frugal Ads

Funny and sentimental resonate better than factual/price, especially during recession. In general, it seems that more people want to connect with something they can relate to on a personal level.

What may seem like a cute little fact is actually very straightforward and useful.

We hear so much about economic downturn and drop in consumer confidence. We anticipate that this will have great impact on advertising but this study shows that advertising is still very effective as long as it is affective.

What does this mean?

People don’t go for content – they are not rational choosers. It is their feelings that drive response. Your display ads need to evoke a feeling in the consumer who is looking at it. Remember that people are hit with ads all day long from many different sources- TV, movies, books, the Internet… you need more than just a pretty ad.

You need to create an ad that supports your brand, promotes brand awareness and that elicits an emotional response in your target market. The studies show that humor is a great way to do just that in today’s advertising world.

Targeted Online Display costs five times less than direct mail, nine times less than radio, and ten times less than the newspaper. To reach today’s consumers, you must establish a strong online presence. We help businesses every day learn how to create their own ads. We leave it largely up to you what message you want to include in your banner ad. Our job is to support you and to help you craft an effective marketing message.

See it in action:

Example of VL creative that incorporates humor into our ads. Can we help you inject some humor into your ads?


Methodology of the Nielson Study:

Nielsen looked at more than 4,000 U.S. CPG ads from 2006 to 2011 and categorized the ads by creative approach: humor, narrative, sentimental, product, promotional and value. The study then evaluated the “effectiveness” of each creative approach through different phases – pre (2006-2007) during (2008-2009) and post (2010-2011) – of the most recent recession cycle.