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Cue the Comedy: 3 Brand Campaigns Making People Laugh in 2024

Published on Mar 18, 2024

Cue the Comedy: 3 Brand Campaigns Making People Laugh in 2024
Anastasia Dyakovskaya
Anastasia Dyakovskaya studioID

The last few years have taken a serious toll. With the pandemic, an economic downturn, and now a heated election coming up, it’s been hard to catch a break. During tough times, stress levels rise at work and home — and the last thing people care about is the product you’re peddling. What they do need, however, is some respite. And a good chuckle can offer just that, no matter where it comes from. 

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why, this year, Cannes Lions is debuting a new category focused on honoring humorous contributions to the advertising industry. “At a time when the world needs hope, optimism and joy more than ever,” Chaka Sobhani, Chief Creative Officer at Leo Burnett UK and Global says, 

Brands turning up with humor have the greatest chance to create the deepest connections with their customers and audiences. And become more likable and loved in the process.

Need proof? Read on for a look at how three top brands are getting laughs and boosting business — and how your company can get in on the joke as well.

CeraVe Clowns Around With Michael Cera

Comedic Inspiration

Marketing Dive reports that the Cera-CeraVe connection began with social listening. When the team came across some old Reddit threads discussing the possible connection between the comic and the skincare brand, they knew they had struck gold. 

This deep-rooted internet conspiracy became our opportunity to fuel the fire,

– Charlotte Tansill, President of Ogilvy PR, Social & Influence, North America.

Campaign Details

As winner of this year’s Super Clio (an annual award that recognizes the best Super Bowl ad), CeraVe has certainly scored with Michael Cera’s unique comedic stylings. But the social media influencer-led campaign — or “immersive storytelling experience,” as Senior VP and Global Head of Digital Marketing Adam Kornblum puts it — actually started weeks before game night.

Leading up to the event, CeraVe worked with over 400 beauty and dermatology influencers, shipping them special Cera-clad products and merch to spark curiosities and conversations around one simple, silly question: Is Michael Cera the man behind CeraVe? 

We want to have fun with people, not message at them.

– Melanie Vidal, Global Brand General Manager at CeraVe

To maximize the match made in marketing heaven, the company even placed the star in stores to sign bottles of their products, appear in videos with top creators and on the brand’s website and social channels. So far, the efforts garnered all kinds of press coverage and reportedly generated 6 billion earned impressions days before the Super Bowl took place — with absolutely no paid media spend. 

🏈 Related Reading: By the Numbers: Super Bowl LVIII

Expert Insight

“The name is a very simple connection, but on a deeper-rooted level…There’s so many layers of strategy and messaging that are really aligned perfectly to the brand and what we need to say,” Kornblum told Marketing Dive. “Every touchpoint was just as important as the ad itself, and I think that’s really a critical thing. The ask wasn’t just ‘make a Super Bowl ad and let’s build some buzz around it;’ it was ‘let’s create a world.’”

studioID Takeaway

If you’re looking for ways to make folks laugh, don’t underestimate the power of a brand mascot — even (or especially) one that seems unlikely. Otherwise, focus on crafting content that provides a light-hearted mental break, if not LOLs, as well as real value for your audience. 

HubSpot Gets Laughs Across Social Media

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A post shared by HubSpot (@hubspot)

Comedic Inspiration

Memes, memes, and more memes.

Campaign Details

Marketers are noticing a shift in HubSpot’s social media presence these days, with some speculating about whether a rogue Gen Z employee has completely taken over the company’s accounts. While never ones to be dry about the subject, like many B2B brands, their platforms were once mainly limited to tutorials, employee highlights, and other static posts.

Now, on Instagram, TikTok, and X, HubSpot’s bio cheekily reads “Get in your *smart* CRM era,” and content is heavy on meme-ified workplace comedy designed to elicit laughs — along with plenty of likes, comments, and shares.

Even on LinkedIn, where getting creative has been a challenge for many brands, HubSpot’s found a way to make the new voice work wonders. And according to Senior Director at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Tom Pepper, the

[humor] really stands out…powerful creative on LinkedIn can add 10 times, 20 times, to the performance

Copy and videos may reappear across channels, with certain jokes finding their way into different kinds of content to continue the fun. It might not be for everyone, but judging by the community response — and the fact that Gen Z is projected to account for 27% of the workforce by 2025 — this is a strategic move that’s already making waves and boosting engagement. 

Expert Insight

“B2B brands are adopting what makes B2C brands so sticky,” according to Wunderman Thompson. “Not just consistency and commitment to awareness-led media; but also the power of humor to make unexpected connections.”

studioID Takeaway

The goal is to become a haven for your audience, so they can relax and turn their busy minds off for a moment — and that’s exactly what HubSpot’s doing here. They’re also creating the kind of content they know their target audience finds enjoyable. Think: is there a way for your brand to tap into memes, internet culture, or some other relevant trend as a way to entertain? 

Liquid Death Just Keeps the Jokes Coming

Comedic Inspiration

“We’re just a funny beverage company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do,” the brand’s website reads. “Our evil mission is to make people laugh and get more of them to drink more healthy beverages more often, all while helping to kill plastic pollution.” 

Campaign Details

Featuring flesh-eating zombies in need of hydration, Liquid Death’s ad for the new product Death Dust is just the latest example of how the brand brings its twisted sense of humor to life. “I sometimes like to think of it as one of those crazy SNL commercials… but it actually came to life and you can really buy it,” says VP of Creative Andy Pearson. “Obviously we sell amazing water, iced tea, and merch, but 

at the end of the day, we’re really selling entertainment.

Known for its tongue-in-cheek hardcore aesthetic and killer values since day one, the company now has a valuation of $700 million as well as 2.9 million followers on Instagram and 4.9 million on TikTok, making it the platform’s most followed beverage brand in the U.S. And when it comes to attracting and maintaining new audiences, the sustainability angle doesn’t hurt either. 

“We’re using that entertainment to help people feel better about making healthier and more sustainable choices for themselves, their families, and the planet,” Pearson says. “No matter who you are, that’s something we all want.”

Expert Insight

“If you look at the kind of stuff we make, it’s always a satirical take on the world around us, particularly the world of marketing. And we’re trying to mix high-brow, thought-provoking ideas with low-brow humor,” Pearson explains. “It appeals to all parts of your brain, which is what the best humor and entertainment in the world does.”

studioID Takeaway

Look for ways to inject humor into content and design to cut through the noise, create positive associations with your brand, and ultimately convert your audience. “What we believe to be true is that if you can make someone laugh, they’re way more likely to purchase,” says Greg Fass, VP of Marketing. 

We win if we make people laugh.