1st Edition

Humor in Advertising Classic Perspectives and New Insights

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    Humor has long been one of the most common approaches used in advertising. Whether in a big televised event like the Super Bowl or in new forms of digital advertising, everyone is exposed to funny ads, some of which both entertain the audience and help sell a product. Yet, the use of humor in advertising is complex; clearly not all humorous ads are successful.

    This comprehensive volume both summarizes the cumulative state of knowledge on humor in advertising and provides new cutting-edge research on key topics such as humor’s use in conjunction with emotional and sexual appeals, its use in digital advertising, and issues related to gender and cross-cultural applicability. Special emphasis is placed on defining humorous advertising and types of humor used, as well as outlining what conditions work for advertisers. The chapters examine humor in advertising and add insights on several cutting-edge issues in this stream of research. An overview article summarizing the overall body of literature accumulated over 50 years of research on humorous advertising defines types of humorous appeals. The degree to which humor is effective and the boundary conditions associated with when and how it works best in advertising is discussed. New research articles further contribute to cumulative knowledge by exploring the interaction of humor with other issues and techniques such as whether it travels internationally, gender issues, its use in conjunction with emotional and sexual appeals, and its presence in the digital contexts. The book concludes with an in-depth look at the evolution of humorous appeals over the oldest traditional advertising medium—outdoor advertising.

    The chapters in this book were originally published in International Journal of Advertising.

    Preface: the timeless nature of the study of humor in advertising

    Charles R. Taylor

    1. An introduction to humor in advertising: Classic perspectives and new insights

    Marc G. Weinberger and Charles S. Gulas

    2. The emergence of a half-century of research on humour in advertising: what have we learned? What do we still need to learn?

    Marc G. Weinberger and Charles S. Gulas

    3. Does humour travel? Advertising practices and audience effects in the United States and People’s Republic of China

    Gary D. Gregory, Heather J. Crawford, Lu Lu and Liem Ngo

    4. Gendering conversational humor in advertising: an evolutionary explanation of the effects of spontaneous versus canned humor

    Lachezar Ivanov, Martin Eisend and Tomas Bayon

    5. Does sexual humor work on mars, but not on Venus? An exploration of consumer acceptance of sexually humorous advertising

    James Mark Mayer, Piyush Kumar and Hye Jin Yoon

    6. Being funny is not enough: the influence of perceived humor and negative emotional reactions on brand attitudes

    Caleb Warren, Erin Percival Carter and A. Peter McGraw

    7. Overlay ads in humorous online videos: it’s a matter of timing

    Ivar Vermeulen, Ellen Droog and Christian Burgers

    8. Comedic violence in advertising: the role of normative beliefs and intensity of violence

    Hye Jin Yoon

    9. How morality judgments influence humor perceptions of prankvertising

    Chingching Chang

    10. Looking in through outdoor: a socio-cultural and historical perspective on the evolution of advertising humour

    Marc G. Weinberger, Charles S. Gulas and Michelle F. Weinberger


    Marc G. Weinberger is Professor Emeritus in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, and Visiting Research Faculty at the University of Georgia, Athens, USA. He has published extensively in the major advertising journals and co-authored two books, Humor in Advertising: A Comprehensive Analysis and Effective Radio Advertising. His work explores advertising message effects and the sales impact of old and new media on brands.

    Charles S. Gulas is Professor of Marketing at Wright State University, Dayton, USA. He has published extensively on the topic of humor in advertising and has worked as a consultant for ad agencies in the USA and in Europe. Prior to pursuing a career in academia, he was a comedian and comedy club owner.

    Charles R. Taylor is John A. Murphy Professor of Marketing at Villanova University, USA. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Advertising. Taylor has published extensively and has received the Ivan L. Preston Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research from the American Academy of Advertising and the Flemming Hansen Award for long-term impact on the advertising field from the European Advertising Academy.