The Good Business of Bad Puns in Advertisement

The good and bad thing about puns is that a wordplay can make or break your brand completely. And where there is a high scope of getting it all work out for your product advertisement, there’s this chance of messing it up for the targeted audience as well. Because puns are a lot like an inside joke that marketers are aiming at their customers to grab. But what if the catch got dropped? Or worst if it hits the ground where it offends the most?

If you’ve been attentive while reading the first paragraph of this blog, you might have noticed that I’ve made a pun out of it on whole. Now, if you think again and proceed in the same direction you might as well catch the irony too. Like every other classic slogan, my first paragraph sounds like a well-scripted advertisement campaign. Sure, the use of smart word plays and phrasal interchange helped it sound like one as well but the crucial part is it did deliver my message or what I am trying to say in perspective as well.

Where it could be debatable that if your pun is funny enough or not, an advertisement you don’t have to worry about it at all. Because of this one obvious and core reason. While writing or straitening a content strategy for any campaign, copywriters should bear in mind that “they are not writing it for the comedy”. A good advertisement pun would be the one that exposes your product functionality rather than exposing the fun of it. To explain the facts and figures about this verdict, let’s scrutinize some of the top tactics that copywriters and campaign strategist apply, their use of puns in slogans and how they really cut a slack.

1)Basic Kneads and local chicks, dough!

Starting off with basic, these knead and dough jokes are the standard of witty marketing for any bakery. From USA’s famous Masada Bakery to Pakistan’s local street cores, no matter how many times we get to witness them, these knead jokes always set a mark for people to understand that it is something to do with bakery and dairy stuff.

masada bakery

Talk about dairy products and subtle sexualization. It is okay to use a hint of it but it’s not okay to have it all over the add.

A bad example,

hardees fresh buns

Note: The campaign was still somewhat successful as it retains the task of getting all the prior attention.

A good example,

2)Make it sexy but make it wise

I understand that puns are reincarnations of inappropriate phrases and dirty jokes. But what not to miss about this whole point is that at the end it should only provoke customers in a way you wanted it to. For example, the above shown famous and controversial Hardees’s buns were thought to be a big hit (of course before launching) but it all goes down the drain for one wide side. Instead of making customers to want more, it actually made them puke it all out with their “enhanced graphics”.

Remember when I said, don’t spread it all over. I meant like they did at Hardees. A subtle hinted punch line is okay but went all overboard with visualizing it and it’s a NO-NO. Here are some better if not good examples of doing it smart.

subway

mcdonalds

Well, the second one is debatable but I wanted to show how not being visual helps to absorb such an obvious pun decently.

3)Wordplay and royalty

Another most seen example of puns in an advertisement is the intelligent wordplay of them. And what it actually does to your brand is that they make it sound more genius. Like in a bunch of jokers cracking it up out loud, word plays behave like a royal elite small but smart joke.

chipolet

4)Food Politics

Puns have their fair share of regarding serious and current issues in their own means. And with the most obvious, “eat a chicken but don’t be a chicken” kind of jokes are common among the industry. There have been few really amazing campaigns that crush the grounds of loud and clear political messages being re-vamped as a joke.

 

Now, with all this being said and classified. It is as clear as crystal blue that you can’t place a foot wrong in strategy and even a simple thing like pun has to be well-originated and well-clued.

But to leave it all with a conclusive example, I would like to introduce one of my personal favorite campaigns.  Ran by Nike, a perfect example of how brands should focus on their big idea through slogans and how every bit of a single campaign step should represent it well.

 

Mic Drops!