This week I discovered the new RSPCA NSW campaign for cats. It is called “Cat Ballads, Music to Improve the Life of Cats” and I found it funny and engaging. Not only is there an album and videos of singing cats highlighting responsible cat care, there is also a track and video created with scientists designed to calm cats and kittens in shelter environments, who may be generally stressed or left at home during the day. Goodbye Grumpy Cats!

This started me thinking about using humour in advertising.

Many memorable ad campaigns tend to be funny. Audiences like to be entertained, but not pitched to and people will pay more attention to a humorous commercial than a factual or serious one, opening themselves up to be influenced.

The key to funny advertising is assuring the humor is appropriate to both product and customer. The balance between funny and obnoxious can be delicate; and a marketer must be certain the positive effects outweigh the negative before launching a campaign. The best products to sell using humor tend to be those that consumers have to think the least about. Products that are relatively inexpensive, and often consumable, can be represented without providing a lot of facts, and that’s where there’s room for humor.

It is also worthwhile considering that different things are funny to different people. A commercial that leaves one person in stitches may not be as hilarious to someone else. The target market must always be considered. It is interesting to note that humor in advertising tends to improve brand recognition, but does not improve product recall, message credibility, or buying intentions. Variety is key, once a commercial starts to wear thin there’s no saving it without some variation on the concept.

Mark Levit of Partners & Levit Advertising writes “Humorous campaigns are often expensive because they have to be constantly changed. Advertisers must remember that while making the customer laugh, they have to keep things interesting, because old jokes die along with their products.” I wonder, as the world speeds up and digital advertising evolves, will this continue to be an issue?

If you want to check out the Cat Ballads Album, click here

You can also donate while you are there.


Stock photography has come a long way in recent years, the quality, affordability and choice has improved dramatically. If a client is working to tight budget, stock shots can be the perfect solution.

In turn, most graphic designers will be required to delve deeply into a stock library to find the perfect shot at some stage. Some look at this task with trepidation, imagining hours of fruitless searching. Me, I love it. It doesn’t matter what search criteria you type in, without fail a random, bizarre, unrelated image will pop up to break the boredom. Often I will flick to the final page of the search where the least popular images are, this is where the “nuggets” are often found.

It seems, I’m not alone, there’s is a great article by Patrick Burgoyne highlighting the research of Andy Kelly who has also discovered the less visited corners of stock library archives.

Check it out here

Why don’t you try it yourself, my last search turned up “Strange person in black cloak sitting on a toilet and thinking in the middle of the desert”. I was looking for sadness concepts. Funny thing is, I didn’t find it sad at all!

Jo, Senior Designer

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