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Fully loaded – humor in advertising

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday June 24, 2009 )

The world of marketing can be a rather serious place. Times are tough and a good laugh is always appreciated. However, if you can turn that laughter into profits, even better.

We’re all so jaded by ads that basically say stuff like “we’re the best”, “we can’t be beaten” etc. and it all gets a little boring and too serious. I love it when ads come along that are off the wall, over the top or make fun of the product they are promoting – it makes for a very nice change.

One such over the top ad is Fully Loaded Man; promoting stew of all things. The ad is even more amusing for those who remember the Solo Man ads (which were meant to be serious) of the mid-80’s.

So first up, here’s Solo Man ad from 1986 (remember, this one was serious – and yes it was popular believe it or not):

.. and here’s Fully Loaded Man, circa 2009:

The connection they made to the old Solo ad was very clever, but the success of the ad didn’t hinge on that prior knowledge. The song, while amusing, also makes a strong connection to the product and the product played a strong part in the visuals.

The Fully Loaded Man ads certainly hooked me and I started buying the product (which isn’t too bad as far as tinned soup/stews go). I’m even growing the Fully Loaded Man moustache, practicing the Fully Loaded Man roar and can’t wait to try out my new Fully Loaded Man fan powered wind surfer kayak. They could make a killing from merchandise connected with this dude.

Another very humorous one is the “eyebrows” ad from Cadbury. Here’s the full version.

Very clever stuff, but recall/association is a bit of a problem here – there’s no real association to be made with chocolate. While chocolate is a favorite for me, it took a few viewings before I remembered who was behind the ad and what they sold.

Both of these ads are fairly big budget productions, but there’s no reason why a small online business owner can’t use humor in their own ads; even if it’s just a banner. The key things to remember are a) recall and b) test your ad thoroughly first as humor can be very much in the eye of the beholder and missing the mark or offending your target group could be a disaster.


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