When funny TV commercials hurt the most


Measured over 53.000 airings, we found that humorous content in automotive commercials will result in a 30,3% setback…


At Mediasynced, we love to enrich plain media-data and provide amazing TV effect insights based on instant customer behaviour. For our latest project nearly 200.000 TV ad airings of 200 advertisers were qualified, adding 34 different attributes (e.g. music, celebrities, humor, logo visibility) in 11 different product categories. To make this even more spectacular we valued every single airing by measuring altering online search volumes. This gave us a good hunch on which TV attributes drive online traffic most.
We have been taking a closer look at what humor does to your instant search traffic. Especially when it comes to selling cars. For the last decade or so, advertisers in the automotive industry invested heavily in online retail channels hoping to bypass costly brick and mortar showrooms and well paid sales staff.
And guess what? In general humor is not a traffic booster! So if you’re aiming for instant online visits, you should avoid comical content in TV ads. It underperforms significantly compared to non-comical content. Taking all commercials, for all available industries in consideration, humorous content will cost you 24,4% of the instant website traffic compared to the overall benchmark. Whereas the absence of humor will increase your instant online traffic with 15,9%. That’s a useful insight isn’t it?
Let’s get back to the automotive industry, because that is where funny content hurts even more. Especially if you are aiming for profitable online search traffic. Measured over 53.000 airings, we found that humorous content in automotive commercials will result in a 30,3% setback in comparison to the average results for all automotive commercials. That is a significant loss of direct effect, and quite literally a bad joke.
Marketing a car apparently is an act that needs an apathetic approach. We are talking about the world’s single most important status symbol. And a considerable budget-basher for most households. So, laughing about one’s pride and joy, will likely backfire on instant search volumes and eventually on online conversion. Finally, we have not considered any branding effects and obviously acknowledge the entertaining value of the DarthFather-kid finally controlling the force to open a Volkswagen Passat. But sometimes the humor overgrows the intended marketing effect, and that’s where solid insights can make a big difference.

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