Should more retailers aim for the fun bones of their customers? – RetailWire


Jul 01, 2022

Consumers are seeking humor from brands as they emerge from the pandemic era, new research finds. Yet only 16% of brands surveyed use humor to sell, with 95% fearful of using humor in customer interactions.

The report of happinessby Oracle and Gretchen Rubin, author of five bestselling books, including “The Happiness Project,” was based on a global survey in January of 12,183 consumers and 3,125 business leaders in marketing, sales and customer service.

The study found that 45% of consumers haven’t felt true happiness in over two years, and 88% are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh.

Ninety-one percent prefer brands to be fun, a number that increases among Gen Z (94%) and Millennials (94%). Beyond ad campaigns, the survey showed that a large majority seek out humor when following brands on social media, in email marketing subject lines and when interacting with them. chatbots/digital assistants.

Only 15% of business leaders said their brand was humorous on social media; 24% actively use humor in email marketing campaigns and 27% actively incorporate humor into bot communications.

Eighty-five percent of business leaders said they don’t have the data or tools to successfully deliver humor. Business leaders say they would be more confident using humor when interacting with customers if they had better customer visibility (55%) and access to advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (32%).

Duluth Trading, Dollar Shave Club, ASOS, Zappos, Aldi and TJ Maxx are among the few retailers and direct selling brands that stand out, not just for their occasional fun ads, but also for their fun or lighthearted tone on social media.

Embracing humor, however, can work against marketers’ efforts to project authenticity, empathy, transparency and inclusiveness in their messages.

One November 2021 investigation of 2,000 American adults from Attest exploring brand messages found that consumers want brands the most make them laugh and entertain them, cited by 57 percent. That compares to just four percent looking to be amused by brands in a September 2000 survey.

After wanting to entertain, the most searched for brand message was motivational, inspirational, educational, empowering and reassuring.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think surveys accurately determine that consumers want more humor right now and, if so, why aren’t more retailers using humor in advertising campaigns or messages on social networks? Do you agree that brands “don’t have the data or the tools to successfully deliver humor”?


“Humor isn’t easy and it’s subjective. When done right it’s exhilarating, but getting it wrong is a nightmare that lives forever online.”


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