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Research Shows What Kind Of Humor Is Most Effective In Selling Products

Advertisers often try to get us to buy stuff by first making us laugh. Humor is a common component of ads — but new research looks at what kind of humor is most effective, and what kind might hurt the product being advertised.

Take these two commercials for the same candy bar: the first shows a pickup football game, with a familiar actress unsuccessfully running pass routes. The second, for the same candy bar shows a man painstakingly painting the name of the Kansas City football team in the end zone.

Both use humor, but different kinds of humor. And those differences are the subject of new research, published in the "Journal of Marketing Behavior."

Caleb Warren, lead author of that research and an assistant professor of Marketing in the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, discusses what the research discovered.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.