Sometimes the “Funny” Overshadows the Product

By Chris Blair

Just the other day my brother-in-law was visiting from Alabama. He’s a Baptist minister who’s well-published and highly regarded for the stories he spins in his sermons. He mentioned a television ad he liked and he recounted the concept, which was “what can we count on 10 years from now?”

He described the ad, which shows a grizzled Brett Farve accepting an MVP trophy 10 years in the future. Farve has some very funny lines and the trophy has an animated hologram of him on top of it…a BRILLIANT visual touch if I do say so myself! Notice he also has a pair of bifocals hanging from the collar of his t-shirt.

We both laughed about how creative and funny it is. Problem is, neither of us could remember what was being promoted or what the product was.

I saw the ad a few days later and made a point to look for both. It promotes the Hyundai Sonata along with the 10 year warranty offered on Hyundai automobiles. So is this ad creative and funny? Sure. Is it effective? I’m not sure. It certainly wasn’t if you consider me and my brother-in-law to be the measuring sticks.

Perhaps if you’re in the market for a car and warranties are a big issue for you, this ad would be effective. But with almost every major car manufacturer offering generous warranty programs these days, my guess is it’s probably not. Of course, Hyundai has a whole slew of top-notch ads that run all over the place, so as one part of a broad campaign, it probably works.

Most people love funny commercials. But producing truly funny advertising is difficult and it can sometimes overshadow what you’re selling. So be cautious about how much your ads focus on the fun and how much they focus on selling. It’s certainly worthwhile to get your viewers attention with an ad, but you also have to deliver a compelling sales message in the process.