Laughing together in a meeting

Study Finds Humor Drives Sales and Causes Spontaneous Sounds of Amusement

2 min read • Jun 02, 2019 • Andrew Mosteller

Why is it that the minute someone puts on a business suit,  everything becomes so serious? “Dave, we need to have a serious talk about the rotten chicken leg in the refrigerator,” or even “Are you seriously watching cat videos instead of making spreadsheets, Rebecca?” There’s a time and place for solemnity in the workplace, but a good sense of humor can go a long way.

Joel Stein, writer of a weekly humor column for Time magazine, addressed business people in an article written for Stanford’s business school. “Statistically—which is the only way you people understand anything—it is highly probable that you used to have a sense of humor. Or even that you have a pretty good one when you’re not doing business-y things.”

He later explains that “humor is an effective and under-leveraged tool for power, offering a competitive advantage against peers, higher retention rates of employees, innovative solutions, and teams that are more resilient to stress.” Humor in the workplace doesn’t only affect your employees—it also impacts your customers.

Clutch, a B2B research and review firm, found that 53% of customers are more likely to remember and enjoy an advertisement if it’s funny. People nowadays are so skeptical of advertising that they detach themselves from it. Laughter puts people at ease, helps them feel connected, and can even cause them to emit uncontrollable high-pitched noises.

On a psychological level, humor lights up multiple areas of the brain. This activity means funny ads bury themselves deeper into the minds of the customer. Advertisements, however, are not the only way a brand can communicate hilarity. Denny’s, for example, uses Twitter to tell silly jokes: “if you throw eggs at bodybuilders they get… yolked. hey internet, it’s dad.”

Super Bowl ads are a classic example of the power of humor in marketing. 26% of millennials watch the Super Bowl for the commercials, not the game. That is a testament to the power of humor in marketing. And it’s the reason every business owner who doesn’t laugh during work hours needs to learn to crack a joke and have a giggle at least once per workday. It’s for the best.

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Andrew Mosteller

Andrew Mosteller is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Lendio News. His upbringing in an entrepreneurial family nurtured a passion for small business at a young age. Andrew's father, an equity fund manager, taught him the ins and outs of investment financing. Now, Andrew spends his time writing copy for business owners, helping them expand and advertise their unique brands. He's also studying Strategic Communications at the University of Utah. When Andrew's fingers aren't glued to the keyboard, he spends his time reading, podcasting, composing music, and bombing down the ski slopes.