In this advert the English insurance company uses humoristic characters and storylines to promote its website. In this specific case the advert shows one of the characters going on a diet. This technique, used in many commercials, can attract the attention of the viewers and hence make them remember the product and brand. But in this particular case, even though the viewers do recall the ads, the purpose of the commercial might get lost. In a study by Thomas W. Cline and James J. Kellaris (Cline & Kellaris, 2007) results show the importance of humor-message relatedness. In this research we can see how the humoristic content of and advert only has a positive influence in recall when it is related to the product.
Two hundred and fifty three students were selected to do this experiment. Participants were told that the study was concerned with their reactions to a magazine advertisement prototype. Each participant received a questionnaire booklet containing a stimulus ad. After about 10 minutes, participants were asked to place the questionnaire on the floor and continue with a filler task to clear their short-term memories. To control the humor degree there were three versions of a simulated print ad (higher humor strength, lower humor strength, and no humor control). There were also to conditions to humor-message relatedness (high or low).
Message claims recall was assessed via a second questionnaire, in order to check for humor–message relatedness. In this questionnaire participants were asked to record their reactions to the ad on a six-item, seven-point semantic differential scale (humorous/not humorous, funny/not funny, amusing/not amusing, playful/not playful, not dull/dull, and not boring/boring) and on a four-item scale (related well/related poorly, were consistent/were inconsistent, fit well/fit poorly, corresponded well/corresponded poorly). At the conclusion of the study, another questionnaire assessed the argument strength, product familiarity, and brand familiarity.
The results show that when humor strength is higher (versus lower), participants recall more ad claims when the humor is relevant to the claims. Also the degree of recall in highly related messages increased when the ad was most humorous. In contrast, weaker humor, weather related to the brand or not does not facilitate recall compared to the control condition. The data from this experiment contributes to the idea that humor based advertisements improve promote recall of the brand when related to it.
Cline, T.W. & Kellaris, T. J. (2007). The influence of humor strength and humor–message relatedness on ad memorability, The Journal of Advertising, Vol. 36, No. 1, p. 55-67