Humor and advertising have typically gone hand-in-hand — though that humor typically isn’t directed back at the brand. While it may seem counterintuitive when selling a product, more brands are realizing that poking fun at themselves can be an effective way to grab attention. It proves the brand is human and approachable, something becoming more and more valuable in advertising today.
The following 4 brands aren't afraid to make fun of themselves for a good laugh.
1. Internet Explorer
Microsoft’s web browser Internet Explorer has endured a lot of hate over the years. Users of Internet Explorer have gained a reputation for being outdated and the browser itself is seen as not as easy-to-use when compared to competitors Firefox and Google Chrome.
Rather than ignore this stigma or attempt to become “cool” again, Internet Explorer addressed the issue head-on with the “browser you love to hate campaign.” The campaign birthed a microsite and a humorous video spot in which a young man in therapy is explaining a problem he has been facing where he deletes Internet Explorer off all computers he comes into contact with.
It seems from the spot that Internet Explorer might be trying to appeal to hipster ideals that often bring back “square” or “outdated” things — like Pabst Blue Ribbon and cassette tapes — and make them ironically cool again. Whether or not that was the goal, Microsoft nailed it with the video spot.
When you view “This is a Generic Brand Video,” you can’t help but laugh. Marketers and advertisers particularly can relate to the common themes depicted in the video spot, and hopefully have a sense of humor about how so many brands follow the same formula. It’s not until the end of the video that you realize which brand it came from.
As it turns out, Dissolve provides the very stock video photos its video was making fun of.
Where’s the best place to go when you want to make fun of your own corporate sponsorship? Leading satirical news site The Onion, of course.
Lenovo is the official sponsor and producer of The Onion’s original web series “Tough Season," which follows the struggles of a fantasy football player throughout his season. Just like a typical corporate sponsorship, Lenovo products and mentions are sprinkled throughout the series — but unlike other product placements, the appearance isn’t always flattering.
The main character is constantly mispronouncing Lenovo’s name and breaking the devices. There’s even a storyline in the second season that depicts Lenovo as an evil corporate overlord. The negativity surrounding Lenovo during the series shows the corporation isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself.
Feminine hygiene company Kotex wants to apologize for just how ridiculous ads about women’s periods have become. To do so, it created a sarcastic new spot poking fun at the space.
In the spot, a woman describes all the things she likes to do during her period. As she paints a picture, the video flashes back to cheesy tampon ads of yesteryear. All of those images are actually from prior Kotex commercials. The spot proves that Kotex has seen the light and wants to stop patronizing women and their bodies.