Views and Opinions from our Marketing Experts

Are You Clowning Around With Content Marketing?

Are You Clowning Around With Content Marketing?

"People don't buy from clowns," was the view of American advertising pioneer Claude C Hopkins back in 1920s. Of course today we see humour being used by a growing number of businesses to promote and sell their products and services. Here at The-Marketing-Department, one of our personal favourites is the Haribo TV adverts with adults talking like small children.

Tapping into emotions is a proven strategy in content marketing; nothing provokes a response more than if it makes you laugh, cry, angry, scared, excited or inspired. You can probably think of examples in your own life, sharing a funny video on Facebook, reacting to an alarming article on LinkedIn or commenting on an opinionated blog.

The holy grail of content marketing is when something 'goes viral'. And, because we all love to laugh, the use of humour in content marketing can really tap into an emotional need.


Any content that creates laughter, joy or amusement as an emotional response not only packs a punch in our brain (those endorphins kick in) it also gives the reader a sense of connection. Humour among human beings is unique in its level of sophistication, so making someone laugh also demonstrates the 'human' side of your business or brand.

Content that is funny or unexpected can grab attention. If your content provokes a reaction it becomes more memorable and this is vital when it comes to the customer making that buying decision.

Tweet this content tipTweet: Content that is funny or unexpected can grabs attention. You want to be memorable when the customer is ready to buy via @PaulaNLuke

Of course for humour to work you need to do your homework and know your audience. It's not enough for you to think your content writer is the funniest person on the planet; your audience needs to think so too. Think about the demographic of your audience and create humorous content which is relatable. Even better if it's also topical.

Unless you're a natural comedian, if you want to build humour into your content you need to include it in your plan and test it. Start planning now for upcoming topical events (Pippa Middleton's Wedding, Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon) and think about 'awareness days' which may lend themselves to humour - like National Limerick Day May 12th, National BBQ week 29th May. Create some content ideas and test them - on colleagues, friends, around the office, existing customers - if they react you're on safe ground. Remember to include images that reinforce your 'joke'.


You're also walking the Funny vs. Offensive tightrope. Be aware there can be an element of risk when introducing humour into your content marketing. Help to reduce this risk by checking your content, knowing your audience and ask yourself these questions before you press 'Send" (thanks Hootsuite for this comprehensive list).

  • 1. What is my audience paying attention to on social media right now and how will this land in that conversation?
  • 2. Has anyone else seen this? (If yes, did that person look nervous?)
  • 3. If people don't really get the joke, how bad am I going to look?
  • 4. Is this right for the brand voice and tone?
  • 5. Who could be hurt or offended by this? (The obvious one, but always worth revisiting.)

Whichever emotional response you are aiming for with your content marketing make sure it's relevant to YOUR audience and their stage in your customer lifecycle.

If you want a free 'laugh-o-meter' rating for your content (humorous or serious) then please get in touch. Click, email or call 0117 901 2345