United States Humor: Audience Perspective

laughingSo far, my research has made me laugh a lot and learn even more. The topic of humor in advertising makes for great conversation whether both parties have comparable or dissimilar definitions of humor.

The one concept that has been stressed to me in my interviews and in all of my secondary research is that cultural differences influence comedy tremendously. Even seemingly minor variations in environmental and social surroundings effect what we find funny. It is not merely a matter of the region where one lives that influences a person’s sense of humor. Next-door neighbors and even fraternal twins can differ when defining what is humorous to them. Yet often there is common ground.

As part of my research, I talked to many people of different demographics that I assumed could be current or potential consumers of Doritos® products. I showed them advertisements from both Doritos® U.S. and U.K. campaigns after asking them to try to explain their personal senses of humor. I was interested to find that, given the wide variety of answers provided to my initial question, everyone at least cracked a smile while watching the U.S. ads.

While these people are no experts in advertising, their opinions are critical in understanding what makes for a successful campaign. Interviewing the Doritos® audience has made me realize that, though we give humor different meanings, our definitions overlap in areas.

In preparing for interviews with industry professionals in the near future, I look forward to finding out how they effectively satisfy such a diverse audience. While there is certainly no pleasing everyone, there must be some sort of formula for crafting jokes that are not so niche. It will be interested to hear how they define an “American” sense of humor in a general sense.

Photo from: http://www.vivainstitute.com/2011/09/the-reason-life-works-at-all/laughing-people-2/

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Posted in Humor in Advertising

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Mark Turner is editing the world, one word at a time

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