Are Funny Ads Comedy Genius?

March 30, 2012


A couple days ago one of my esteemed colleagues wrote an excellent post asking ‘Are the best TV adverts art?’ His answer was a resounding yes.

A laughing sculpture

Image by Sadi Junior Photography, via flickr

That got me to thinking about other ways in which advertising can have value beyond its commercial function. For me the most prominent was comedy, I’ve no idea the number of times I’ve properly lol’d at a highly amusing ad. I don’t think I’ve ever actually rofl’d at an ad though… or anything else for that matter. However, I may accidentally spat juice over a girlfriend or two.

The question is though, are the funniest TV ads little pieces of comedy genius?






Postbank – Banking

A little mischievous streak goes a long way when it comes to comedy in ads. It plays beautifully on the cliché of the rich breadwinner husband constantly battling to control his kept wife’s spending. I reckon it will strike a chord with many people in the ad’s target audience. And isn’t one of the key components of good comedy that it should take something people can identify with and turn it on its head to humorous effect.

Europcar – Cheap Car Hire

Mixing humour with religion can be tricky business at the best of times, but throw advertising into the mix and you’ve got a potential PR disaster. This ad does a surprisingly good job of blending it all together in a genuinely funny, but inoffensive manner. There’s something very innocent, pleasant and not too sharp about the wee St Christopher character in the back.

7up – Fizzy Juice

This one again highlights a little everyday scenario that is familiar to many of us and brings in a character that breaks the tension and brightens up everyone’s day. The reason Small Talk Tony is so amusing is that even if you’re hardly ever in an elevator you’ll be familiar with that awkward little moment and you’ll no doubt know a Small Talk Tony that loves to break up hose little silences with seriously standard banter.

Heineken – Lager

A little bit of banter and a playful dig certainly makes the battle of the sexes a little more interesting. There is a real art to pulling off this kind of humour in a way that both sexes can find amusing without causing offence. I think this one works because most women are perfectly aware that this type of hysterical reaction is faintly ridiculous, while most men can agree that it is faintly insane bordering on terrifying.

What are your favourite funny ads? Feel free to post links to them in the comments box below.


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