A little bit of levity in advertising never hurts. The power of laughter gets attention and makes brands memorable. If you think about the ads that you can quickly recall, you’ll find that most of them made you giggle. While not always appropriate, funny ad ideas can breathe new life into a campaign and hook new customers who appreciate a sense of humor.

Let’s look at some funny ad concepts that can work for local advertisers.


Having a Sense of Humor Makes a Business More Authentic and Human

In today’s buying decisions, consumers have many choices. While the product or service matters, most people make purchases based on emotions. Humor establishes this emotional connection positively. It also makes the business look authentic and not like just another faceless company.

Humor can also level the playing field for your local advertisers versus larger brands. It can be a competitive advantage and may also get consumers over the resistance to purchase. The key is to execute it in a friendly and funny way without being crude or demeaning.

Fry day

Be Punny and Funny

For ads that are mostly text, throwing in a few good puns is an easy way to bring in some fun. The goal is for the puns to be relevant to the business, memorable and appropriate. Some brainstorming with your client can kick this off. Here are a few examples that are punny and a little bit funny:

  • Buy our pizza: We knead the dough.
  • What’s today? Fry day — get a free fry with your order!
  • You’re looking very hot. It’s time to get that AC fixed!

Give Ads a Theme from Another Generation

The ’70s, ’80s and even ’90s were a long time ago. These decades all have quintessential things that define them and can bring up nostalgia and memories for those who lived through them. There might be a funny ad concept in there. Some ideas in this bucket include:

  • “’70s wines are now vintage, but kids of the ’70s are just getting better with age.” Include a promo code for bottles in this category.
  • Mullets are back, and it’s the ’80s phenomenon we never thought would return. Play off this with a picture of an ’80s mullet with copy like “You may have missed a few upgrades,” which could work for home improvement and remodeling advertisers.
Light beer

Combine “Odd Couples” in Design to Strike a Point

The creativity and humor of an ad are often simply in the visuals. Combining things that don’t seem to have any synergy can make for a fun way to get a compelling message across. For example, if a local restaurant, bar or beverage retailer wants to promote light beer, the visual could be beer in a light bulb. The caption — “Light beer is a bright idea!”

Another idea that fits this theme is for yoga centers. Yoga’s goal is to make people more flexible. What’s the most flexible inanimate object? A straw! So, place a yoga body at the bend of the straw to deliver this message in a more inspired way than just people in downward dogs.


Poke Fun at the Business

Certain stereotypes about industries continue to be part of the story. Often, they are at least somewhat true, and customers can relate to this based on their experiences. The objective is to be relatable. 

For example, budget hotels aren’t high in amenities or luxury. Many travelers are looking for the best prices and a clean and safe place. So, a funny way to relay is to point out the obvious in the ad, such as:

  • All the free water you can handle
  • Every room now with doors
  • Clean sheets and towels included

It’s a humorous way to get the budget traveler’s attention.


Develop Campaigns with Help from Furry Friends

Animals are universally beloved and have been a staple of funny ads for decades. The business doesn’t have to be animal-related to use them. Think about LiMu Emu and all his tireless work for Liberty Mutual. 

The animal’s attributes should have something to do with the business or the concept. For example, raccoons are resilient and creative. Sloths are slow, owls are wise, and foxes are cunning. Ask your advertiser what animal best represents their business, and see if you can spin that into something. 

Here’s an idea. Penguins are incredibly loyal birds, and some are monogamous with their mate. Loyalty is an attribute any brand would want; it’s also something to reward. So, a concept could be “We take loyalty just as seriously as our penguin friends do.” The promotion could then be about joining a loyalty club and getting extra points or rewards for returning customers.

Smoke detector

Use Bold Statements If the Audience Is In On It

You never want to be mean, but many people won’t find harm in being a little provocative. The key is to know your audience and how they see themselves. Here’s an idea for those with less-than-stellar cooking skills:

  • Is your smoke detector the soundtrack for your kitchen? Give that band a break — order in from us.

Another thought is to play on people’s technical skills or lack thereof:

  • If your tech emergency is you, we can help. Get tech support when you need it from our team.

Funny Ad Ideas Aren’t Just for Laughs

Making people laugh is a really positive thing — it’s science. That positive experience can lead to recall and brand affinity. If appropriate for your advertisers, introduce some funny ad ideas to get the laugh and the sale.

Get more great ad ideas for humorous ads by reading our post on using memes in advertising.