There are 4.2 billion social media users as of 2021. And with 36.5% of global internet users aged 16-64 turning to their favourite platforms to find ‘funny and entertaining content,’ incorporating humour into your social strategy might not be a bad idea. Scratch that. It’s an excellent idea. Stop with the doom scrolling and check out these 10 brands that do humour in social media marketing.
#1 Innocent Drinks
Back with a bang is Innocent Drinks. Funny, quick-witted and able to laugh at themselves, this is a brand that knows how to crack a joke. In fact, they’ve used multiple marketing gaffs to fuel their social media strategy and boost interaction. @innocent recently posted a picture of a purple coloured drink with the caption, ‘Our manager has told us that we have to call this new smoothie blue.’ Comments bounded in, with Innocent replying in a light-hearted way in order to make the thread even more comical. this play on their old “It’s Blue” social media role playing never gets old.
Marketing Top Tip: If you’re going down the ‘funny’ route, be ready to respond to comments in the same tone as this will help maximise the impact of your original post and avoid confusion. Keep things upbeat and relaxed. Always ensure your social media team understands brand tone of voice and compliance. If another big brand picks up your posts, you could also share or retweet all communication.
A bit of friendly rivalry is a great way to weave humour into your content. Of course, when Skittles had a dig at M&Ms for bringing out lime confectionery in response to consumer demands, the real winner was Mars considering it produces both products. This social media marketing collaboration disguised as banter was a great way to get people talking.
Marketing Top Tip: Use visuals to bring your humour to life. Static images work well, or you could post a funny meme that brings out the meaning of your content. Branded imagery stimulates the senses and makes your content more memorable. It’s simple if you think about it. Ask what makes you stop and linger on a post. It’s easy to scroll past text only marketing, so try to dominate feeds. Or, make the most of social media tools such as TikTok videos, Instagram Stories/Reels and more.
#3 Burger King
Of course, brands have been using social media to bounce off one another for years. Burger King and McDonald’s continuously cross swords for marketing purposes and public amusement. At the end of 2020, deep in the middle of the C word, Burger King encouraged the public to ‘order from McDonald’s’ and other fast food chains in order to keep businesses afloat during the COVID-19 catastrophe. But, of course, the brand couldn’t resist a touch of sarcasm along the way.
Marketing Top Tip: When it comes to humour at the expense of other brands there’s a fine line between being funny and being offensive. Often, it’s a good idea to avoid provoking competitors unless you’re able to build up a natural banter or have negotiated in advance with marketing teams to collaborate with a series of back and forth posts. The latter can actually work in your favour helping to boost brand awareness. As long as it doesn’t look staged.
#4 OREO Cookie
You know what OREO is great at? Reminding us that we really love OREOs. It’s simple really. Their social media feeds are packed with funny OREO-related prompts that make us just want to grab a bite. And that’s some clever marketing right there. This brand has essentially found multiple ways to say EAT ME, often incorporating imagery, emojis, videos, polls and recipe ideas into their content – especially on Instagram and Twitter. They also regularly retweet user-generated content with a humorous twist as this is a great way to populate social media feeds organically.
Top Marketing Tip: Retweeting content from popular accounts or commenting on original posts that mention your brand is a great way to attract like-minded consumers to your social networks. It’s also worth checking out the followers of similar accounts across networks and connecting with them in order to boost your outreach. Look for those who regularly interact with competitors or who have a significant following themselves.
Swedish fintech company Klarna knows how to steal the marketing limelight with a spot of humour. They often collaborate with well-known celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Lil Yachty in order to take the yawnnnn out of finance-related products. And as content marketing experts for the finance space, that’s the sort of content we love. If it’s not a fully ‘blinged’ up Snoop encouraging people to make ‘smooth payments,’ it’s Maya Rudolph playing 4 miniature cowboys in the brand’s first ever Super Bowl ad, which has received almost 14 million views on YouTube alone.
Klarna is also dedicated to loading their feeds with funny prompts, memes and questions in a bid to boost engagement and get people talking.
Top Marketing Tip: Avoid pigeon-holing your brand. It’s perfectly possible to operate a respectable business without boring people half to death. Remember, people are looking for energetic and entertaining content, particularly at a time when the internet is loaded with doom and gloom. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and think of ways to relate to your clients. Worried about letting your creative juices flow? Then why not sit down with the compliance team and run through any ideas you have in detail to ensure they won’t get you into regulatory hot water. Finance brands, we’re looking at you. My agency Contentworks specialises in making dull or complex subjects fun, let’s talk!
#6 Zopa Money
Millennials and Gen Z are not looking to buy into a perfectly polished lie or a brand that promises something that’s out of most peoples’ grasp. They’re looking for authenticity with a side of real-talk and that’s exactly what Zopa Money brings to the table. The #RealMoneyStories campaign allowed them to share raw, real and often funny stories from real people, helping followers to connect on a more personal level. Genius.
Zopa Money also managed to expand this concept with the #RealMoneyCouples concept which promoted conversations around money in relationships. A series of Instagram videos showed real-life couples asking direct questions about the financial situation of their relationship. While this is neither side-splittingly hilarious or sarcastic like some of the other content mentioned, it’s a very good example of how you can effectively make your content more upbeat and relatable while weaving in some funny moments.
Top Marketing Tip: Don’t stress about trying to be the next best stand-up. If being funny doesn’t come naturally or isn’t part of your immediate content marketing strategy, there’s no need to force it. But it is important to keep your social media positive if you can. And this applies to all industries. Create consumer personas and then think about what sort of questions they may ask and what sort of thing they may want to watch on your social channels. Think about providing solutions to problems and why consumers might need your product. From there, you can start to explore different content ideas such as question and answer sessions, go-lives with guest speakers, behind-the-scenes interviews and more.
#7 Taco Bell
Another fast-food joint cranking out the humour has got to be Taco Bell. Their Twitter feed is loaded with juicy one-liners that’ll have you wanting to scroll for more. There are things like this which received over 635 retweets – now that’s pretty great exposure.
Taco Bell connects with their audience on a down-to-earth level through their use of continuous and relatable humour.
Budweiser is a brand well-known for producing comical adverts. Who could forget the 1995 Superbowl commercial featuring three croaking frogs – Bud, Weis and Er? They now regularly use social media to spice up our feeds.
this beauty is a throwback to their popular puppy & horse Superbowl commercial. Yes it still makes me cry!
Top Marketing Tip: Use National Days to your advantage. There’s a whole bunch of them, so it’s a good idea to go through the list and pick out some great days you could spin into some funny social media posts or branded challenges. June 4th, for instance, is National Hug Your Cat Day. This could lead to a best photograph or best caption competition. There’s also a National Flip-Flop Day on the third Friday of June, which could lead to some office banter and a bit of fun on your social sites.
#9 Old Spice
Tweets with video see 10x more engagement than those without. So, why not take a leaf out of Old Spice’s book and incorporate comedy and video into your social strategy? Not great at script writing? Then we’re here to help. Yes, that was a shameless plug.
Old Spice is well-known for their quick and clever marketing approach. But throw a touch of influencer marketing into the mix with Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams and you’ve got a recipe for success. Funny lines and an old-school brand all blend together effortlessly.
We also love the way the ‘smell ready for anything’ slogan ties neatly in with the unknown territory of 2021. With covid still going on, Old Spice has cleverly created a campaign that people can relate to. Turning old sweatpants into ‘more formal sweatpants with pockets’ in a so-called ‘pants-formation’ is comedy gold and links neatly with the current climate.
Top Marketing Tip: When it comes to humour, you could think about some sort of influencer collaboration. But it’s important to choose the right influencer for your brand. Snoop worked for Klarna as he acquired company shares and had a genuine interest for tech, retail and e-commerce. Finding that link will help your campaign become more authentic. Also, think about what’s going on in the world around you. How can you make your influencer campaign relatable?
#10 Denny’s Diner
Head to Denny’s Diner on Instagram and discover a host of clever visuals designed to put a smile on your face. There’s no doubt about it. Instagram is a platform that relies on imagery to sell products and develop brand connections. The more memorable your post, the more people will want to come back for more – and comment on your material.
With covid leading to a surge in doom scrolling, it’s no wonder humour comes as light relief. During such challenging times, it’s really important to stand out in any way possible, with comedy being a great way to attract followers and grow your community. That said, there are certain things you should remember in order to develop your funny side responsively.
Humour in social media top tips:
- Humour in social media is not for everyone. If you’re well-known for straight-talking, fact-driven content and it’s working for you, then think carefully about changing your strategy. Any tone of voice change should be carefully assessed to avoid isolating and confusing your current audience. You need to decide if you’re happy using memes and emojis or whether you want to stick to your more traditional approach.
- Be consistent. If you’re funny and witty one minute and uptight and serious the next, then your consumers won’t know what’s coming. And this might cause them to lose trust in what you’re offering. Always think about who you’re talking to and the content they might want to see. This involves analysing demographics and carefully crafting buyer personas.
- Don’t be rude or offensive in any way. Make sure you’ve a trained social media team that understands how to make quick-fire, witty responses that won’t land your company in some kind of legal situation. This is particularly important in an age where people are protesting and speaking out against all sorts of issues. You should also have a plan in place for any kind of negative PR. Statements should be crafted and those responsible for dealing with social media reputation concerns should be briefed and ready to implement your chosen strategy.
- If you have a talented social media team then do let them get on with it. I’ve worked with and for bosses in the past who crush all creativity and micro manage responses. Your brand will never be funny if you do this.
- Think compliance. If you work in an industry that’s heavily regulated, compliance should be at the top of your priority list. Therefore, all scripts – even the funny and obviously jokey ones – need to get the green light.
- Make the most of memes, emojis, gifs, branded hashtags, branded competitions, branded imagery and anything else that’s going to make people spend more time with your company online, as this will help to boost conversion rates.
What’s your favourite funny brand? Tweet me your top picks @Charli_Says