How brands use humour to drive sales and expand reach

laughing girl and boy

Involving humour in marketing and advertising is a technique that has been tried and tested by many brands. The reality remains that many people love to laugh, and seeing ads that give us giggles brightens our moods. Advertisements that tap into what makes consumers laugh can create a more meaningful relationship between the brand and its audience. Many brands use a variety of marketing strategies to create unforgettable customer experiences. The use of humour to sell products has been a driving force for many brands. However, some brands fail at this attempt.

Here is a look at some campaigns that have successfully leveraged humour to create a lasting impression.

CHICKEN LICKIN #Soulbites Nuggets of Wisdom

Chicken Licken Nuggets of wisdom ad
Image: The Citizen

Chicken Licken is one of the most famous brands that put a smile on people’s faces . In a recent commercial, Chicken Licken launched an ad campaign featuring a new product – Soul Bite chicken nuggets with the theme ,”Nugget of Wisdom”.

This campaign featured some famous South African characters to bring the campaign to life and add a twist. Some of the characters include the famous artist Lebane ‘Rasta’ Sirenje. In this commercial, the policeman is looking to hire Rasta as a sketch artist. If you are familiar with Rasta’s work, you probably know what the outcomes of his work will be. Rasta is known for his drawings that do not depict his muse.

SAVANNA #Twirrashadeproject

Savannah twitter shade campaign
Image: Eminetra

Savanna Premium Cider is back with another exciting campaign called #Twirrashadeproject. The project turns the countries funniest shade thrown on Twitter into real shade with custom benches and murals to provide shade. It is one of the coolest campaigns given the impact of rising temperatures. Those interested in getting a glimpse of the shade can do so at one of these spots: Melrose Arch and Newtown Junction in Johannesburg. The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

NANDO’S #Scamandla

Nandos AD
Image: The Citizen

Nando’s is one of those brands known for hilarious campaigns that make you roll with laughter. The brand always leverages on the country’s current events and trends. Do you remember the Scamandla ad from 2021?. In that TV commercial, Nando’s was launching a new meal at an affordable price which you might consider a scam.

This advert (like all of them) was expected to prick the balloon of the current status quo. The emphasis on the low price was made with a voiceover saying: “It’s a timely reminder that we can’t afford to fall for anything that will lighten our pockets. But we can get the new Nando’s Prego and Chips for R49. Not a scam, just nje”. This campaign was bold, clever, funny, and addressed current affairs that are affecting the South African economy.


Netflorist billboard
Image: Reddit

Netflorist is also another perfect example of using humor in marketing and advertising. The brand is primarily known for its creative play of words that leave a lasting impression on the audience. Their focus is on radio and Out-Of-Home (OOH) campaigns that make those commutes a little bit lighter.

People not only remember things that make them laugh, but they also tend to share them with others. When a brand creates a marketing campaign that makes people laugh, it has a great chance of expanding its reach.

Creativity during the lockdown with Xolisa Dyeshana

Creativity during a crisis

On Monday 13 April, the Pat onBrands Dialogues hosted Xolisa Dyeshana, Chief Creative Officer at Joe Public to share insights on the role of creativity during the lockdown.

It is without a doubt the lockdown has presented huge challenges for brands from a communications point of view given the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic. Brands have to answer pertinent questions around who do they become during this time. “One of the biggest tragedies for brands during the lockdown will be losing sight of who they are”, Xolisa Dyeshana. He further added that brands need to remind themselves that they still have a place in the world. They need to stay in their lane, a soap brand can speak about hygiene, for example.

Brands need to be sensitive

Xolisa cautioned brands to be sensitive to the situation irrespective of whatever they choose to do. This is the time for brands to put people first. and the brands that are going to do that are going to benefit hugely from the positive sentiment later. Understanding what people are going through is very important and whatever piece of communication the brands will have a purpose.

Don’t push out communications for the sake of it.

Most brands feel the need to say something around the current situation. However, not every brand has to say something. To be honest a lot has been said already, however, there is an opportunity for an unorthodox way of thinking and for brands to come up with unforgettable pieces of communication that resonate well with the audience. For example, a brand Chicken Licken did not focus on putting out on an empathic type of messaging like how people are missing Chicken Licken wings, they focused on using humour watch it below. In a nutshell, if a brand is not going to say anything different, it rather say nothing.

TikTok TikTok

Whilst we are still battling with flattening the curve of the spread of the coronavirus, the user curve of TikTok is on an upward trajectory. The Guardian dubbed TikTok as the social media sensation of the lockdown and this year it surpassed Facebook and WhatsApp as the world’s most downloaded non-gaming app. The reason I am highlighting this is that of all the social media platforms, the content TikTok is highly creative and fun. If brands want to showcase their fun side this is the platform that they should be playing on.

Creativity goes on

To conclude, although we may be on lockdown and our movements are restricted, creativity goes on. Apple has reminded us of this in this beautiful montage footage.