Consumers are looking for humor but brands aren’t delivering, survey says

    • Ninety-one percent of people globally prefer brands to be funny, yet 95% of business leaders fear using humor in consumer interactions, according to a report from Oracle and author-podcaster Gretchin Rubin. The report found that 45% of people globally have not felt true happiness for more than two years.
    • “The Happiness Report” found that 90% of people are more likely to remember ads that are funny and 72% of people would choose a humorous brand over the competition. Despite this, only 20% of brands report using humor in offline ads and 18% report using the tactic in online ads.
    • The report is based on insights from more than 12,000 consumers and business leaders across the globe, comes as the world seeks to move past the pandemic into a new normal. However, the pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, leaving consumers longing for experiences that make them smile.

    As the pandemic enters an endemic phase, the world reopens and life settles into a new normal, consumers are looking for experiences that make them feel happiness after two years of increased stress, per the research from Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience. However, this preference is often at odds with what brands are offering in advertising and marketing.

    Humor can help to improve brand connection, with 78% of respondents to the survey, which was conducted by Savanta in January, saying brands can do more to deliver happiness. Additionally, 48% of respondents said they don’t believe they have a relationship with a brand unless it makes them smile or laugh and 41% said they would step away from a brand if it doesn’t make them smile or laugh regularly.

    The preference for humor is shown in how likely consumers are to remember ads, despite a sizable gap with the percentage of brands that use humor in ads. Nine in 10 consumers prefer brands to be funny, with Gen Z and millennials overindexing at 94%. That attitude — and brand deficit — extends to social media as well, with 75% of respondents saying they would follow a brand on social media if it was funny, despite only 15% of brands using humor on social media.

    The report also suggests that humor can help improve email marketing campaign open rates, which currently hover around 21%. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they would open an email from a brand if the subject line was funnier, yet only 24% of business leaders report using humor in email marketing campaigns.

    Despite finding that humor drives sales, with 80% of respondents saying they were more likely to buy from a brand again if it uses humor and recommend that brand to friends and family, industry leaders are wary when it comes to its use.

    While 89% of business leaders report that they see opportunities to enhance customer experience, 85% report they do not have the data insights or tools to successfully deliver humor. Business leaders report they were more likely to use humor if they had better customer visibility (55%).

    Along with humor, consumers are looking to new experiences and e-commerce to drive happiness, with mixed results. Eighty-eight percent of people are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh and 80% of respondents reported prioritizing health. Additionally, 79% of people said they are focusing on personal connections and 53% said they were focusing on experiences to gain happiness.

    The report also found that 89% of consumers tried to find happiness in online shopping during the pandemic, while only 47% said receiving packages made them happy. Additionally, consumers are willing to put a premium price on happiness, with 53% saying they wish they could buy happiness.


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