The ROI of LOLs: Is Funny Copy Bringing You More Business?

Welcome to January. The month of Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year; post-holiday credit card statements; and the creeping sense of guilt at how your resolutions are already crumbling.

And with the looming White House transition, this January is shaping up to be extra gloomy for many of us. But, at the very least, let’s take solace in the fact that 2016 is over, delegated to painful memory and short passages in school textbooks.

Right now, I think we could all do with a laugh.

Fortunately, there’s a boatload of clever brands out there that know how to get us to crack a smile. And funny copy (when done right) can make us feel all warm and fuzzy toward our favorite brands too.

Let’s have a gander at brands that do this well…

1. Humor = Instant brand personality

We gravitate to people who make us laugh—including brands. While not all brands can—or should—try to be funny, strike it right with the right audience and you’ll be the life of the party.

An image containing an amusing poem about the fruits contained in an Innocent smoothie

Check out how Innocent effectively explains what fruits go into their tropical juice drink. They could have simply listed the ingredients. I think we all agree this unexpected approach is a far more interesting, and endearing to fans.

A humorous brand personality isn’t just about making your customers laugh. It can subtly bolster product and brand values too.

A quirky message about sustainability from the brand Innocent.

Here, Innocent packs sustainability values full of its trademark quirky copy.

An amusing image of an astronaut and old-fashioned diver, highlighting the similarities and differences in their relationship and outfits.

While Zendesk takes a more subtle, but still light-hearted, approach to highlight what their brand stands for.

2. Humor = Standing out in the crowd

To succeed in today’s saturated market, you have to stand out. Fail to do so and people will forget all about you.

While there are many ways a brand can set itself apart—invaluable thought-leadership, a commitment to eco-practices—people remember brands that make them laugh. Humor can help you stand out, especially if it’s unexpected—such as a droll tone in a normally dry industry.

Charmin shows us how its done. Toilet roll production isn’t the most exciting of industries, but Charmin makes it fun with a playful tone of voice.

An amusing message about enjoying the bathroom, by toilet paper brand Charmin.

 

3. Humor = Good old entertainment

It’s no longer enough to be the dependable, reliable brand. According to Facebook research, 72% of millennial consumers expect brands to entertain them.

Entertainment can be an end goal in itself. The now legendary Old Spice Guy campaign is funny, memorable, and highly entertaining. This ad campaign became one of the most viral in history and an internet phenomenon with millions of views on YouTube.

 

And the decision to focus on entertainment as much as product paid off with considerable increases in sales.

 

4. Humor = Typically boring content becomes a joy to read

Boring content is now a cardinal sin in marketing. Even our, once dry, internal corporate documents must be full of crisp, clean, riveting writing. Humor is a fantastically effective way to breathe life into typically boring copy.

Take product descriptions, for example. In the 90s, we didn’t expect much of product descriptions, asking for little more than a clear list of features. Now, we want brands to pack a whole HBO season’s worth of entertainment into a handful of terse, witty lines. It’s not easy, but Urban Daddy gets it spot on.

A witty product description for a crocheted pocket square.

A witty product description by brand Urban Daddy.

 

The ROI of funny

Witty turns of phrase, bizarre humor, comical character—if the goal is a good chuckle these brands are on the money. But does all this ridiculousness equal real return on investment?

In truth, it’s hard to gauge the effect of brand personality—it’s like trying to measure a good feeling. But here’s a few metrics that give an idea of how brand voice effects business goals:

 

  • Engagement

Likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, comments on your blog—people engage more with brands that make them feel good. If your funny copy is rubbing your customers the right way, they’ll show their approval through engagement.

 

  • Conversion

While it’s hard to link conversions direct to brand voice, running A/B tests can provide some insight. Create two variants of a conversion-driving landing page—one with level-toned body copy, and the other bubbling with humor. Then, track the results to see which works best.

 

  • Surveys

Finally, the best way to tell whether your tone works for customers, is to ask them! Send out a survey with some targeted questions. Be sure to ask what prompted them to buy from you and what effect your copy had on their buying decision.

 

Injecting humor into brand voice is a tricky business. If you need some help nailing down your perfect tone, we’re here to help.

A native Brit, Charlie comes to MarketSmiths by way of Paris, Montreal, and Sydney.

She’s written for both B2B and B2C clients while on the content teams for global brands, digital agencies, and as a freelancer. She loves nothing better than crafting captivating copy for clients. Her experience ranges from blog posts to news articles to landing pages, with a focus on nonprofits, travel, and tech.

When not writing, she’s usually following her own foodie tour round NYC, kickboxing, or planning her next weekend trip out the city.

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