The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 4 (2023)

Humorous advertisement categories

Emese Babinszki,Katalin Balázs


Humour is a prevalent strategy in advertising, but research findings are contradictory regarding its effectiveness. A potential resolution of the contradictory findings could be to create a category system distinguishing between the basic types of humorous advertisements, which could systematically be used in future research. Several classifications have been reported and some typologies have been suggested, but none is based on the audience’s representations. Our aim was to identify the basic types of humorous advertisements with an approach that considers both the previous typologies and the non-experts’ representations.

In the present study, 18 humorous advertisements were assessed based on a questionnaire study with 13 questions and 246 adult participants. Based on the cluster analyses of the empirical data, three basic types of humorous advertisements were identified: taboo-breaking, exaggeration, and cute or sentimental humour. Eight items were differentiated most clearly among the humorous advertisement types. Both the humorous advertisement categories and the applied items are worth consideration in further studies. Conscious use of the identified categories in future research could help to develop a more comprehensive model of humorous advertising effects.


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