My personal and professional experiences so far in London have already shed loads of light on my study of humor used in advertising. What my initial research lead me to believe about British humor seems to be very different from my actual experiences with people here in London. I expected people to be explicitly crude in telling jokes and that their personalities would reflect a dark sense of humor. Instead, I’ve found people to be very polite and sincere, not to mention very funny.
Apart from my encounters with British locals, I’ve kept an eye out for advertisements throughout the city that clearly use humor to market products. As expected, very few ads are the same here as they were back in the States. I wondered why that was, as I understood and enjoyed them all. I realized pretty quickly that there seem to be more similarities than differences when it comes to advertising.
My first interview seemed to confirm my theory that not as many differences exist as most people tend to assume. Copywriter, Daniel Woodward gave me plenty of insight into the process of developing and executing humorous campaigns. The process is similar to that in the States in that ranging audience demographics and cultural sensitivities are huge obstacles when trying to develop messages that will be best received by the public. There is no perfect formula. It is always hit or miss.
My research and experiences so far have proven that this topic is not something that could be properly analyzed through secondary research, alone. I’m proud to admit that my personal perceptions of British humor were not entirely accurate. I’m surprised how similar processes and results tend be when using humor in ads in both the U.S. and here in England. When I speak with other London agency creatives later this week, I’m interested in finding out their perceptions of American humor and why they feel such a great divide exists.