Advertising is part of the nature of business. It drives the economy and society.
Humor is part of human nature. It stimulates the body and heals the soul.
David Ogilvy, the man who reinvented advertising due to his really deep understanding of both natures, made a good point about creating ads:
The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.
For Ogilvy, research, creativity, and fun was the combination for marketing success. His ads hit the bull’s-eye because he was well-informed about what he promoted, knew his target audience, and enjoyed the process.
But no matter how much you enjoy creating ads and no matter what sense of humor you have, creating funny ads is walking on thin ice. Humor in advertising is a very personal and ambiguous thing that can cause both laughter and disgust.
Often intentionally and sometimes not, companies fail to make ads truly funny, leaving their marks in history with really bad advertising examples everyone makes fun of.
14+ Funny Ads That Demonstrate How to Seriously Sell
A laugh a day keeps the doctor away. Laughter is valuable for people, and funny and creative ads are valuable for businesses and brands. For the record, an adult laughs nearly 17 times per day on average.
We hope the funny ads we’ve collected in this blog post will help you break your daily laugh record, lighten your mood, and give you a few awesome ideas for creating positive advertising that converts. Let’s begin!
Whassup? I Budweiser
We’ll start with funny phone ads that don’t promote telephony, even though they could.
Running from 1999 to 2002, this advertising campaign by Budweiser became an advertising classic, and the whassup catchphrase became a pop culture meme mentioned in a bunch of TV shows and movies.
Originally, the commercial was based on the short film True written and directed by Charles Stone III, who also took one of the parts. Eight years later, Whassup? got a sequel that promoted the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.
Furthermore, Budweiser revealed a new version of the commercial in 2020 featuring DJ D-Nice, WNBA star Candace Parker, and former NBA stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who had a live chat on a messenger platform.
If you chat a lot with your customers and you want to get the most out of it, check out:
The Most Interesting Man in the World | Dos Equis
Mosquitoes refuse to bite him purely out of respect. Skinny dipping was his idea.
Jonathan Goldsmith is an actor with over 500 television and movie appearances. Still, he’s most recognized for his role as the most interesting man in the world in Dos Equis beer commercials.
Interestingly, Dos Equis replaced Goldsmith with French actor Augustin Legrand, who was younger. As a result, beer sales decreased and the brand was forced to stop the ad campaign in 2016 after nine years of running it on TV.
However, the most interesting man in the world put on a bold face and became the symbol of another alcoholic beverage — Astral Tequila.
By the way, if you’d like to know more about viral marketing, read this guide:
Unstoppable Derrick Henry | Old Spice
Talking of virality, Old Spice is well-known for their tremendously funny commercial ads that blow the mind starting from the first seconds.
Derrick Henry, an NFL player who’s become a legend for breaking a couple of epic rushing records, played himself as a video game character in an Old Spice commercial where he made a no less epic of a run.
Need more viral ad examples? Check out these:
Make It with Keanu Reeves | Squarespace
Keanu Reeves is an interesting actor and a funny guy who gets used to participating in different projects. Aside from acting, he cultivates his own motorcycle brand called ARCH Motorcycle.
Keanu decided to combine his two passions in an ad campaign sponsored by Squarespace.
By the way, we already mentioned other funny social media ads from the same Squarespace ad campaign. Watch them by following the link below:
Allstate | Mayhem
Launched in 2010 by the American-based insurance company Allstate, Mayhem is an ad campaign that features Dean Winters, who played the part of Mr. Mayhem in 40 funny ad clips, 34 of which were aired on television.
The campaign was produced by Leo Burnett Worldwide, an American advertising company that created Mr. Mayhem as a reference to Mr. White from Quentin Tarantino’s movie Reservoir Dogs.
An interesting fact about Dean Winters is that he was dead for five minutes because of a bacterial infection less than a year before he met his black-suited character. Luckily, the actor was revived by the ambulance crew.
Safety Video | British Airways
The top funny ads don’t promote. They tell a story, give inspiration, inform, and advise.
Presented in 2017 as a replacement for a cartoon safety video that had been shown for years before, this British Airways safety video became a sensation on YouTube.
It features world-known British stars Rowan Atkinson, Ian McKellen, Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Warwick Davis, Rob Brydon, and Gordon Ramsay.
In less than a year, British Airways released a sequel to their safety video featuring David Walliams, Naomie Harris, Olivia Colman, Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, and Jourdan Dunn.
Memorable faces make it easier to remember important things. Undoubtedly, lots of people had a good flight after watching those safety videos. If you liked them too, you can also watch the behind-the-scenes video and cheer yourself even more.
Behind-the-scenes content can be a very effective type of video marketing. If you’d like to discover more types of video marketing, take a look at:
Twin Peaks | Georgia Coffee
Georgia is a coffee drinks brand created by the Coca-Cola company that’s popular in Japan. The brand has the name Georgia because that’s the home state of Coca-Cola. Georgia coffee drinks are so popular in the Land of the Rising Sun that they doubled sales of Coca-Cola in 2017.
In 1993, David Lynch, who’s a big coffee lover, involved the original cast of the Twin Peaks TV series to produce four episodes of Georgia commercials that were aired on Japanese television.
The plan was to create four more episodes. However, the brand didn’t like the result and decided to cancel them.
Nolan’s Cheddar produced a commercial that turned out to be an icon of funny food ads. Usually, food ads look delicious. But the ad below is epic because you’ve never seen how a mouse escapes a trap. Until now.
An amazing scenario peppered with two legendary musical hits — Eye of the Tiger by Survivor and The End by the Doors — demonstrates how “seriously strong” cheese helps a little rodent cheat death.
If you want more examples of food ads, start here:
Arnold Schwarzenegger | The REA Group
In 2014, the REA Group, an Australian real estate company, introduced a series of funny apartment rental ads featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger who mistook his native Austria with Australia.
Also, the REA Group’s representative provided Arnie with some local knowledge:
…and property investments:
...and properties where Arnie can park a tank:
Just in case, we have an interesting blog post about real estate marketing on Facebook. Don’t hesitate to check it out if you work in the real estate market and you need recommendations for creating Facebook ads:
Looks Fast | Toyota
Another series of funny marketing ads was produced for the seventh generation Toyota Celica. In the Looks Fast ad campaign, Toyota used surreal comedy to demonstrate the power of their new car that looked fast to everyone, including dogs...
...moms and children:
and the police:
How about you? Do you feel it’s fast? We do!
The Bark Side | Volkswagen
In 2012, Volkswagen turned to the dark side by unveiling their dog choir barking The Imperial March, which took four weeks for the production team to create.
First, they recorded a demo track from their own sound library to use on set to guide the dogs and handlers. Then sound mixers worked a lot in the studio to match the howls, barks, and yelps with video footage.
The Night Shift | Cesar
Do you know what dogs do at night? In the universe of funny dog food ads, they not only protect properties but have a lot of fun! In their cute commercial called The Night Shift, a West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, that’s the face of the Cesar dog food brand assists its master in the hard work of being a security guard.
After a hard night, both of them deserve to meet the dawn and have a delicious meal.
Ideally, funny ads are video clips and banners that ridicule negativity by turning it in a positive direction. We all have tough moments. And the perfect way to distract ourselves from them is by freaking out a bit.
Kenzo World created a tutorial on what to do when you get into such a situation. The Kenzo World commercial features Margaret Qualley, an actress today and a ballerina in her childhood, who destroys her boredom after leaving a special event.
The commercial was directed by Spike Jonze, who also directed an iconic music video for Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice featuring the legendary Christopher Walken. Now you understand where Kenzo World comes from.
California Map & Travel Center
We bet you’ve seen lots of rather pretentious rather than funny travel ads. We offer you a great alternative from the California Map & Travel Center. Yes, before the Google Maps era, people used to use the services of travel centers.
If you were a traveler back then, it was too dangerous to ask for guidance from locals.
Create Funny Video Ads Easily and Fast with Artificial Intelligence
Did you know that creating video advertising is hilariously easy?
Softcube lets you upload your own video footage — or you can let its AI crawl your website to pick the best content for your business from a rich library of premade video content. Then it adds your branding to generate high-quality video ads based on templates for various purposes.
Good luck with your video marketing!