The Effectiveness of Humour in Persuasion

Humour is used extensively in advertising. Cartoon drawings enhance the persuasive messages for business ethics training. Ironic wisecracks will enhance persuasion by serving as a distraction from counterarguments. And finally, self-effacing humor will enhance persuasion by improving source credibility. Humour in persuasion works well in advertising, where the intended target market can connect with the humor. Advertising in business is an important part of building a brand and creating a strong customer clientele. Therefore, the way people use humor and ensure it passes information to the target audience determines how good the results turn out later. There are several theories of persuasion that come into play. Persuasion is the most important bit of selling new products to people, especially with good levels of persuasion. However, there are three main aspects of the effectiveness of humor in business.

 The theories of persuasion include Mere Exposure theory that works by making people see and hear something repeatedly. With time, people get used to hearing and eventually get to believe and like the idea being sold to them. Humour has increasingly become part of advertising. People are supposed to ensure that they can constantly relate to the advertising model that marketers do. Self-effacing humor will enhance persuasion by improving source credibility. This is humor where people speak of their shortcomings and make fun of it (Lyttle, 2010). Eventually, they get to describe how they can sort out those challenges. It is important for people in the advertising industry to understand how to capitalize on the self-effacing humor. Companies can get to connect with their clients by normalizing the shortcomings that people have and providing products that bring solutions to clients. This form of persuasion can make people learn how to feel better about themselves in the long run. Making fun of things that were previously considered embarrassing and unfortunate for the individual is therapeutic. Persuasion is an attempt that may be successful or not in trying to change the mindset or perception of an individual.

Cartoon drawings enhance the persuasive messages for business ethics training. In business, a direct comparison can lead to companies being entangled in lawsuits. Therefore, the use of cartoon drawings makes companies compete without making direct reference to rival companies by creating humor through the use of cartoons. It is increasingly becoming an almost permanent feature in advertising today with companies investing in creating interesting animated advertisements for their products and services. They are able to connect with their target clients better than they would without employing the use of cartoon drawings and animated features. Humour sells more than just the products and the services and goes on to bring people together. It brings cohesion to the market so that the products have clients to get to. 

 Ironic wisecracks will enhance persuasion by serving as a distraction from counter-arguments. This method works well with people who are intelligent and quick to understand humor. Irony can come out as offensive to people, which is not the intention of the marketers. Irony is an art that has been incorporated into the marketing spaces extensively. When used well, irony appeals to clients in a big way. A client will remember an item that was advertised in the most unexpected way and their interest in the item will be sold to them in the long if they need. The irony in advertising can also come in handy to grow the market significantly. However, when left unchecked, irony can be a major undoing for the company. Therefore, it is important for persuasion using irony to develop a better understanding of the product and the target market. 

Humour can work against the company instead of appealing to clients positively. Humour can leave clients with a bad taste in the mouth. There are companies that have had to apologize and take down their poorly informed ironical humor advertisement. For instance, in 2015, Bud Light had an advertisement that insinuated that no does not mean no (Piedfort, 2019). The advertisement was intended to mean that one was supposed to accept an invitation to indulge in partaking Bud Light. The advertisement was ill-informed, especially given that people today are fighting hard to ensure that the issue of consent is taken more seriously.

To conclude, using irony and wisecracks to advertise products is popular and effective. However, the use of humor has to be done carefully to ensure that people who do not understand what they are doing, do not offend clients. The target market determines the kind of humor that will appeal to the market. Incorporating as many tactics into creating humor may be successful in getting to the target market. As in the case of the Bud Light advertisement, it is important to bring out humor that does not go contrary to the expectations of the world. Humour in advertising makes the process of persuasion stronger and more relevant to the market being targeted. Persuasion in the marketing industry is the core business. Ultimately, good humor in advertising is entertaining and brings revenue to the company.


Lyttle, J. (2010). The Effectiveness of Humor in Persuasion: The Case of Business Ethics Training. The Journal of General Psychology, 206-216.Piedfort, M. (2019, Feb 19). 12 Bad Ads and Marketing Failures To Learn What Not To Do. Retrieved from

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