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Should you use humour in your copy?

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Yesterday I finished watching the latest Spiderman movie.

(potential spoilers incoming)

I say I finished because lately you need at least 3 separate viewing sessions to watch a movie.

When was the last time you had 3 uninterrupted hours to sit down and watch a movie??

Anyway, a lot of people claim it’s epic, the best Spiderman movie ever and so on. It is quite good, even though the storyline is mixing and matching basically all Spiderman movie ever made since 2002.

But something else rubs me the wrong way.

It’s the comedic part of it.

Let me correct myself: the movie is basically a comedy. That’s right, 85% of lines have some kind of joke in them. To the point where you start wondering whether it’s actually a parody of a Spiderman movie (i.e. Scary Movie).

And it got me thinking about the way we, in marketing, use humour to promote our brands.

Should you really go hard on the funny pedal?

How hard? How often?

As you probably know if you’ve been reading these for a while, the answer is only one…

Go back to your audience.

One thing I do with clients which is part of my process, is to create “snapshots” of what potential customers are thinking and saying before, during and after buying.

Simple paragraphs containing what real people we interview and survey said, that give us a clear idea of how they speak and think about the business and product. So we can make quick decisions about our voice and tone.

A lot of it is also branding. An enterprise brand will have a different, more serious tone than an ecommerce selling delivery BBQ meat.

And there’s a way you can take it too far. See Spiderman.

It happens when you lose touch with your peeps.

A more positive example I’ve seen recently is the new Batman with Robert Pattinson. Loved it.

It does have some funny (very subtle) bits in it, but they are sprinkled out and intelligently used. It’s so dark and consistent throughout its 3 hours.

The keyword here is consistency.

Once you’ve nailed down your voice and tone, keep them consistent. Not only throughout your site, but through each different media (ads, emails, social media posts etc.).

SO next time you’re wondering whether you should be funny in your copy, ask “Would my customer resonate with this?”.

If you’re enjoying these, feel free to share this link with your peeps!



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Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

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