Using Humor to Sell Stuff

Humor can be one of the great tools to help sell your products to consumers. DJ O’Neil, CEO and creative director of Hub Strategy, has made a career out helping companies sell their products by making people laugh. He’s the brains behind advertising campaigns for SlingBox, Dropcam, the Oakland A’s, as well as big brands in tourism, such as Viator and the National Aquarium.

DJ O’Neil, CEO at Hub Strategy

We’re bombarded with thousands of ads, online and on TV, and we’ve become great at tuning them out. Humor can be an excellent way to cut through the noise and have your customers take notice of your business. Making them laugh can also be a useful way to get potential customers to drop their guard.

O’Neil explains how businesses often take themselves too seriously, and customers rarely respond well to this approach. He also outlines how businesses often worry that they will offend. However, he demonstrates that if you stay away from topics like race, politics, or religion, the current generation is actually much less easily offended than preceding generations.

“If you look at the landscape consumers live in today, it would make our great-grandparents roll over in their grave,” says O’Neil. “…People are not timid. So if you think you’re going to offend people, people are a lot less offended than you probably think.”

O’Neil gives some great advice on how to get creative about selling your tour, attraction or experience services. He also provides three easy rules to remember if you’re deciding whether to use humor.

  1. Humor must be central to the product or service that you’re selling.
  2. Your brand is not too serious or important for humor
  3. It’s easier to be ignored than it is to offend
Peter Gietl