When is the last time you saw an ad or tweet that resulted in a gut-wrenching laugh? You know- those genuine laughs that you did not expect after watching an advertisement trying to sell potato chips or a new energy drink (yes, we’re talking about Super Bowl 50).
Comedy in advertising and social media isn’t as easy as it looks, but if humor is something that fits your brand, it can enhance its reputation, trigger emotional responses and increase loyalty with a large audience. Brands that have developed a humorous voice must also choose social media platforms carefully. Humor in marketing can sometimes be seen as controversial, and may not be the best choice when publishing content on channels such as LinkedIn. However, if used correctly, finding a voice and adding some light-hearted humor can deliver great results to a company. It’s a process some brands have mastered and some have failed (cue Urban Outfitters Twitter fail of 2012).
According to Social Media Examiner, having fun with your customers and followers while telling a compelling story is a key component when developing your brand’s voice. In honor of National Humor Month, we compiled a list of 8 brands that have perfected the art of injecting natural, relevant humor into their social media content and interaction with followers to generate a lasting impressions on and offline.
1. Taco Bell
Taco Bell has not only incorporated humor into its advertisement campaigns, but also its social media strategy. With more than 1 million users following Taco Bell on Twitter, the company wanted to stand out and make an impression along with keeping up the fresh new vibe of the brand. The answer? Amp up the personality on social media and engage in conversations- and it worked.
In 2015, Taco Bell started a #TacoEmojiEngine campaign on Twitter that was created to tell a personalized story with a laugh or two. The objective– users can tweet a taco emoji along with any other emoji to @TacoBell and the Emoji Engine would churn a story with a comedic photo from Taco Bell’s twitter. Each user received a charismatic, silly response, but in the end it was the personable tweets that increased engagement.
The social media team works on crafting funny but relatable tweets that are geared towards a millennial-centric audience. They have developed a sassy, witty and personable voice through their social media campaigns that have not only helped connect them with a large audience, but also created genuine conversations consistently.
2. Old Spice
Old Spice, famous for its strong, manly scent deodorants and hygiene products and eye-catching commercials, has used humor in its branding for many years now. Back in 2010, the “Old Spice Guy” emerged in the first advertising campaign titled “Smell like a Man, Man,” creating a witty, unique persona that was the face of brand and helped the company find its true voice. The persona progressed from the commercials to social media, and it became a successful approach for an unexpected company to keep up with today’s trends and catch the eye of many millennials around the world. The key to Old Spice’s social media success with humor? Never stop engaging.(click to tweet) The company utilized social media platforms such as Twitter for a strategy revolving around conversation- not selling.
According to Creative Guerilla Marketing, “They wanted to literally have a conversation with their customers. By asking them for requests, Old Spice showed that they cared for their customers; they wanted to listen to them, entertain them and connect with them.” click to tweet. With this strategy in mind, humor helped Old Spice start a relationship with viewers through quirky commercials, and transitioned that voice into their social media. Twitter is one platform they use wisely and consistently to maintain that level of engagement with their audience.
(By the way, don’t miss our Casual Fridays episode about humor in branding, Old Spice makes a guest appearance)
Take a look at some clever conversations Old Spice initiated on Twitter, and how they keep it flowing with even the most concerned customers on the internet. Pure sass, but all class.
The company has made sure to stay consistent with its voice catering to all different audiences around the world- from female millennials to sports coaches near and far.
When you think of Target– what comes to mind? For many, it’s the abundance of modern-style wardrobes, endless options of shoes, and a safe haven fully loaded with daily necessities (which may include Starbucks). Unlike it’s competitors, Target is also known for its friendly return policies, decent prices, and most importantly- options. With that being said, it was interesting to see how Target incorporated a voice on social media during a time of information-overload, and how they used it to their advantage.
For Target, the voice matched the personality. A brand with wit, knowledge and a lot to offer. Therefore, Twitter and Instagram became a hit when the company began engaging more with the audience. With more than 1 million followers, Target’s brand tone remains consistent with a trendy yet light-hearted way to keep people smiling (and laughing). The catch? Many times the brand is incorporating humor and trends with a product they offer in the stores and online. With various social media campaigns such as the #TargetRun, Target uses the ever dreaded hashtag to create conversations on Twitter. Because we all know what happens when you go to Target- you never leave empty handed.
The fast food industry is doing quite well on social media- whether it be colorful Instagram photos, or just witty comments to fans everywhere. With Twitter being a popular platform where users can ask questions and often hopefully get an answer from the company in return, Arby’s was no stranger.
However, this chain is one example of how a brand took humor to the next level- and it went viral. The famous tweet from 2014 took place shortly after the Grammy Awards, which was trending on various social networks as everyone watched their favorite stars go on the big stage.
Arby’s took advantage of a heated moment when the brand realized Pharrell was wearing something slightly familiar:
The tweet went viral in minutes- not just because Pharrell was indeed wearing a hat identical to the infamous Arby’s logo- but also because the timing and humor was spot on. It created conversations on and offline and also helped the company gain a larger following.
From that moment forward, Arby’s social media gained a larger audience and had more opportunities to use humor in its voice. According to Arby’s social media manager Josh Martin, at the time before the famous tweet was sent- Arby’s only had “a couple hundred Twitter followers and about 40,000 Facebook fans.”
The infamous tweet resulted in the brand gaining more than 2.5 million Facebook likes and 200,000 Twitter followers. Meanwhile, the whimsical charisma that the brand portrays continues to this day on various social media platforms to engage with fans and keep up with its upbeat, entertaining brand personality.
Charmin, yes- the toilet paper company, is another brand that is taking to Twitter to share its voice and create many laughs all while staying true to its values. They took the challenge of creating humorous conversations regarding daily bathroom situations and created a hilarious voice on social media.
The company began a campaign with the hashtag #TweetFromtheSeat – to start relatable conversations with those who are glued to their smartphone and taking part in the action.
The engagement on Twitter was a great success and helped the company engage in conversation without sounding like they were actually selling too much. Although Charmin’s voice on Twitter make for a hilarious conversation, the brand keeps it clean no matter how dirty the situation may be.
Domino’s pizza isn’t all that’s hot and heavy. The company’s Twitter profile is filled with photos of deliciously cheesy pizza, but it’s witty voice keeps their 1 million-plus followers engaged regularly. They are quick to relate each tweet to their keyword-pizza.
Domino’s target audience- which includes parents, entrepreneurs, millennials, and even younger generations, seemed tricky to handle in simplest terms, but Domino’s has been able to successfully cater to each of those audiences with a simple tweet, photo, or message on social media.
Domino’s trick? Making their tweets about pizza relatable to just about anything.
IHOP has recently rebranded its look to attract a younger audience that consumes its daily information with emojis and social media. The breakfast chain has been known for its pancake specials, but now it’s reaching a younger generation with its hilarious social media presence. According to AdWeek, IHOP found its youthful, teenage voice on social media and one of the first tweets started it all. “Pancakes on fleek,” @IHOP tweeted, which means “these pancakes are on point.” When your food is “on fleek,” your tweets get more love.” From there on out, the brand continued to use winning messages, all relating to pancakes- stack on stacks.
The company has delved into the social media world with a funny side, inserting its infamous pancakes into almost every tweet with some “punny” content to follow. Don’t believe us? Take a look at some hilarious tweets that coincide with the brand’s personality- funny and delicious.
IHOP’s re-branding was a smooth transition with the help of stabilizing their voice and presence on social media and on print. They are now attracting new audiences and maintaining a high level of engagement on platforms such as Twitter all with the help of adding humor that fit their personality.
8. KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese
When KRAFT Mac & Cheese realized its elbow macaroni had a funny bone, it didn’t take long to transform its voice and personality and embark on a new strategy using social media. The brand took to Twitter to expand its audience and grow user engagement with the brand.
The brand’s social media presence has evolved into photos of elbow macaroni participating in many interesting events (such as painting) as well as new recipes families can try with the infamous box of macaroni and cheese. To remain consistent, the brand follows these rules of being relatable, informative yet funny on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as their advertisements. The best part of all- KRAFT crafted its own way of promoting the new mac and cheese with healthier ingredients and funnier messages through social media.
These companies effectively demonstrate how humor can have an authentic, prominent place in a social media content strategy. Crafting the right approach and developing a unique online voice just requires an examination of the brand’s natural and perceived attributes, understanding your followers’ affinity for the brand and creating the messages and responses based on specific themes, current events and ongoing, everyday conversational tone.
We love to laugh at great ads – and ourselves at times. Want to talk humor in social media? We are all ears- tweet us @QuinlanCompany or leave us a comment.
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