The Snickers Brand

Does humor work?

Have any of you ever thought about the Snickers brand name? 

It suggests humor. A snicker at some joke or comment.

In reality, it was named by the Mars family after a beloved horse in 1930. Who knew?

But Snickers brings up an interesting question for advertisers. Does humor really create preference?

Some of the ads work.

Some, well, you aren’t so sure.

Humor is overused in advertising. There’s a big reason for that. 

Ad agencies win awards with humorous ads. So many of them just become skits without viewers even knowing the brand.

Most don’t create preference. They may be memorable. But only for the humor.

The Snickers brand, though, has permission to be funny. The name is funny. A candy bar is a funny concept, once you think about it.

But brand permission only goes so far. The humor in the ads must make sense.

That is, they must relate to the brand promise

But many DON'T

Take insurance commercials. GEICO and Nationwide are the biggest troublemakers here.

Every ad is some sort of skit with a set of characters (in the case of Nationwide). But they never relate to the brand meaning.

Using humor in advertising only applies when your brand has permission and the humor actually fits within that brand’s meaning.

Otherwise, your brand will be lost in the wash of the humor like colors fading in bleach.