Sounds Like Creativity: Relating Through Humor

This blog post is part of a series celebrating Cannes Lions and creativity in advertising. If you missed the kick-off, you can catch up here

The first goal of any advertising campaign is to catch people’s attention–and nothing does that quicker than a little bit of humor. For instance, think about the last time you told your friends about an ad you saw or heard. Did you feel compelled to share it because the visuals were so appealing? Was it the content that was especially thought-provoking? Or was it because it was funny? While we think any of these are excellent reasons to share an ad, our bet is on the latter.

Humor is an extremely powerful communications tool for not just capturing attention, but holding it and focusing it. When brands do it right, the results are truly amazing. It’s because the real reason why we appreciate a good joke goes much deeper than attention. Comedy is actually a fundamental part of forming positive relationships with others.

Why? Because humor is the ultimate icebreaker. A well-delivered punch line can ease tensions, create a sense of camaraderie and even lift the spirits of an entire group. Funny is hard, though. There’s a fine line between clever and offensive–but if an advertiser can navigate humor successfully, they’ll be rewarded with an extremely engaged and loyal audience.

Since audio is inherently a storyteller’s medium, it’s particularly well-suited to deliver a brand message through humor.

Let’s see an example…


We love this humorous spot from Subway. Not only does it bring to life their brand message of serving “fresh” food, but the clever copywriting in this ad forms a clear connection between the freshness of Subway sandwiches and the fresh music on Pandora. The audio spot also utilizes an expressive yet relatable voiceover that is endearing to the listener. We’ve learned time after time that a genuine Voice Profile like this does wonders for capturing the attention and interest of an audience.

Subway also successfully checked the boxes on our proven best practices for telling a brand story with sound:

1. USE A CONVERSATIONAL TONE
Most audio is consumed through earbuds, so there is no need to shout anymore. Consumers will appreciate you more for speaking to them like you would a friend.

2. ADDRESS THE INDIVIDUAL LISTENER
Digital audio allows brands to reach millions of people, one listener at a time. So make it personal! A natural tie-in to the platform will make your message stand out as part of the experience, rather than another ad.

3. EMPLOY A CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION
Tell the listener exactly what you want them to do and why. Be specific and straightforward, and they’ll be more likely to follow your direction.

4. COMPLEMENT WITH DISPLAY
In an ideal scenario, audio and display go hand-in-hand. Let the audio message deliver the hardworking information, while the display captures the eyes.

Pandora’s Ad Creative Team is hard at work adding humor to many of the audio ads we produce in-house for our brand partners–just like they did for Subway. In fact, they’ve produced over 65,000 audio spots to date! Want to learn more? Get in touch to start the conversation today.

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