When the public thinks of advertising, they often have a polarized point of view.

1. They hate advertising and it never works on them
2. They love and remember a certain ad and it’s usually a funny one.

Yet not all campaigns are ripe for humour. So where is it most effective?

Use humour to:
Convey serious message without preaching
Focus on product or benefit
Get attention
To go ‘viral’ (on-line)

Never use humour to:
Introduce a complex idea
To be funny for humour’s sake
If your target is too broad
If customer experience culture does not back it up

One strategic instance particularly relevant to our green marketing world, is when we are encouraging our target market to change their behaviour for the better. This must be done with care and tact, as no one likes to be preached to or told they are wrong.

In this case, humour can be just the approach to take the sting out of what could otherwise be too blunt or too sharp an instrument.

Unicycle Creative was asked to create a brand and invitations for a green printing seminar. Runningreen, The Eco Printing Infoforum was the result. For our invitations, we wanted to subtly imply that perhaps print buyers didn’t know everything about ‘green’ printing, and they could be doing it better if they came to our seminar. So we got to thinking, what would the trees do if they could deliver the message about responsible printing?

 The web site played an animation of a tree, at the front door, wearing a decidedly annoyed expression and brandishing a nasty looking chainsaw.

The accompanying headline simply read: “Are you printing as green as you could be? Inquiring trees want to know.”

Runningreen Branding

For the event invitation, through the miracle of digital printing, we were able to make the tree ask for each of our invitees by name.

This tongue-in-cheek approach addressed the latent feelings of eco-guilt some print buyers likely feel when they see the presses rolling on a big job. But the smile let our viewers understand that we know they are only human, and we can all laugh at ourselves a little even as we address serious issues.


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