The study found that while humor can increase attention to an ad and boost its likability, it is best used as a supplement to the main message. Certain ads rated funny by panelists drove less desire for the advertised product than non-funny ones.
“We found no evidence that a funny ad is necessarily an effective one,” said the study.
The best scoring ads, according to the study, were ones that were both “funny and informative.”
“Messages must be built of substance and should use humor as a supplement—not a replacement—to create the most effective ads,” the study concluded.