Category: De Beers


Do funny ads sell more than serious ones?

Stop trying to be funny.

John Caples, a legend in the advertising business: Stop trying to be funny.  “You can entertain a million people and not sell one of them.”

Old Spice’s “Mr.Mustafa” campaign became a cult phenomenon.  Unfortunately, Old Spice sales slumped even as the ads went viral.

Apple’s “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” campaign was amusing and conveyed the message that Mac computers are problem free.  It was a huge hit, and people bought Mac’s.

De Beers’ 1947 “A diamond is Forever” campaign had no humor yet transformed American culture.  Seven decades later, useless clear pebbles continue to sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

Dove’s “Evolution” campaign was serious and emotional, critiquing our culture’s idealization of unattainable beauty. Dove became popular and relevant, and the ads experienced a wildly successful run.

John Caples said, “There is not a single humorous line in two of the most influential books in the world, namely, the Bible and the Sears Roebuck catalog.”

Humor does not guarantee that an advertisement will have more impact.  In-fact, research into humor in advertising remains inconclusive. No one knows what type of ads are going to work, until they work.

Writer – Andrew Swihart

Editor – Amy Schmid

Funny Ads.