I’m an adjunct instructor at a college in New York City, and my class each spring semester focuses on developing effective messages that break through the clutter. This past Monday marked the start of the new spring semester, and when I asked the class what they believed helped a message break through all the “noise,” one student said “humor.”
As we were discussing this, I said, “But what happens when everyone uses humor? Does it still break through?
I used the insurance industry as an example. Geico, with its cute little Australian-sounding Gecko, has been producing humorous commercials as long as I can remember. You remember Geico because the commercials are funny, they make you smile, and you associate the Gecko with Geico. They are easy to remember.
It took a while but the other insurance companies finally caught on: Progressive, State Farm, Farmer’s, Liberty Mutual, etc…they all now incorporate comedy. So, if they’re all using humor, how can they all break through?
This Sunday, people are going to be glued to their televisions for the Super Bowl commercials. Oh, yeah, there’s a football game too. And, humor has become the key ingredient for Super Bowl spots. The cost for 2013, by the way, is now $4 million for 30 seconds.
If every commercial is funny, or at least tries to be, do they each get your attention? How many companies do you usually remember after the game has ended? Is it smart to spend $4 million for 30 fleeting seconds?
Two professors at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire “did a study of all 538 Super Bowl ads that aired between 2000 and 2009 and found that most of these Super Bowl ads don’t work.”
So why do advertisers keep spending the money?
What is your favorite Super Bowl commercial of all time?