Humor in advertising: the power is in the mix

On Thursday March 28th, the VMMa (Flemish Media Company) organized the third edition of the TV Day, together with PUB Magazine and InSites Consulting. This year’s edition coped with humor in advertising, with our own CEO Kristof De Wulf as keynote speaker. The night ended in climax with the award ceremony of the TV Awards where the best tv spots of 2012 were chosen.
Kristof started his presentation with a question that has been subject of a lot of research in the past 25 years: Does humor work in advertising? The answer is that there’s not really an answer. However, something we do know for certain is that humor can work out both positively and negatively for your brand. Because what we learned yesterday is that there is something called the ‘Vampire effect’: Humor can really suck the life or blood out of your brand, meaning that it takes up all the attention in your spot and no attention is attributed to your brand. But, of course, humor can also have a positive effect on your brand.
In on our own Topspots research ( we discovered 5 components (Originality, Warmth, Simplicity, Brand fit and Identification) which can be added to humor, in order to reach more impact. The combination of these 5 components is grouped under the construct ‘Empathy’. Adding Empathy to humor in your spots can lead to up to 17% more likeability, 71% more buying activation, 77% more buzz and even 97% more consideration about your brand. Want to learn more? Definitely check out Kristof’s presentation.

After Kristof, Tim Driesen, Creative Director of Famous, brought us a presentation on humor in advertising with some best-practice examples, mostly from overseas. And before the start of the award ceremony, comedian Joost Vandecasteele shared with us his critical yet hilarious view on contemporary advertising.
By then, most attendees were really keen for the award ceremony. TV awards were to be handed out in five categories.

  1. The ‘Topspot award of the Viewer’ went to the tv spot which was most liked by the viewers of vtm, 2BE, Vitaya and JIM. Electrabel received the most votes for the spot ‘Kito & the Smart Energy Box’.
  2. The ‘Topspot award of the Jury’ is for the spot elected by the professional jury and was won by Tiense Suiker with their ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign.
  3. The ‘Brand Impact Award’ rewards the spot which scores best on the most important communication objectives. In this category, a bronze, silver and gold medal were given to respectively Eni’s launch campaign, bpost’s corporate image spot and Telenet’s King & Kong.
  4. The ‘Buzz award’ goes to the spot which achieved the highest talkability in our Topspots research. This year, the winner was King & Kong ‘Waterfall’ by Telenet.
  5. The final prize, The ‘Non Spot Award’, was also given by the jury to the best atypical spot, out of 5 cases which scored best in the SPIM (Sponsoring Impact Monitor) research of VMMtv and InSites Consulting. The winner of the Non Spot Award was Mentos UP2U for its sponsoring campaign in So You Think You Can Dance.

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