Business & Finance Advertising & sales & Marketing

Is Your Ad A Laughing Stock?

The English language offers an advertiser many different ways to say the same thing.
This is both a blessing and a curse.
It's a blessing, because it allows you to write a better ad than your competitors.
It's a curse, because you may find yourself being funny when you don't mean to be.
And in advertising, that's never a good thing.
Unintentional humor The following examples show how a lack of thought can lead to unintended humor.
These examples aren't taken from advertising.
They're taken from road signs that I've personally seen while out and about in various cities around the world.
  • Sign on motorway on-ramp: Cyclists, use left shoulder.
  • Sign above no-parking zone: No standing at any time.
  • Sign on emergency exit: This door is alarmed.
  • Poor spelling at outdoor stadium: Toilet at rear of bowel.
  • Sign at entrance to parking building: Entry.
    No entry.
  • A little too cautious? Do not use elevator in case of fire.
Each of these examples of unintended humor gave me a good laugh when I saw them.
It doesn't really matter with these signs, so why does it matter in your ad? What's wrong with a little humor? So what on Earth is wrong with a little humor? Nothing what-so-ever.
Humor is a great thing, in and of itself.
The problem for an advertiser comes down to the effect humor has on the mind of a potential buyer.
If the reader is chuckling over a double entendre, pun, or joke in your ad, he or she isn't thinking about the reasons for buying your product.
This makes your ad less effective.
That's why it's a good idea to find unintended humor, and remove it.

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