Why (and how) to use humour effectively in your next video

Your video has a point and a purpose, and you want people to hear what you’re trying to say. But what happens when they suddenly lose interest and all that potential goes flying out the window? How do you hold their attention? Easy: make them laugh.

 

Why.

Humour is the easiest way to get people listening. A single joke may be the difference between holding the viewer’s attention for the next 45 seconds or them X-ing out within the first 10. A joke can invoke curiosity and investment. Deliver a joke that’s both funny and relevant, and the viewer will drop their mental spam filter, relax, and invest their time and attention to your message.

But hooking your viewers in isn’t all you want; you want them to remember your video. This is also where humour fits in. Everyone remembers a good joke. It’s the very nature of a joke: if it’s funny enough, you’re going to remember it so you can share it later on down the track.

Now imagine if every time someone remembered or shared a joke, they referenced your company name. Humour makes your video more shareable.

 

How.

Making your script funny seems to come down to a simple process: blending human interactions with unexpectedness and ridiculousness. Take a look at Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” ad campaign.

This ad campaign delivers humour in spades by presenting a very real-world scenario (regular people shopping in a regular store), then introducing ridiculousness in the form of the phrase “ship my pants” and the fact that no one in the scene mishears it as… well, you know. The video reached viral status with over 30 million views, and increased the sales for Kmart’s shipping feature by 300%. Successful? Yes. Funny? Definitely.

But adding humour in your script is more than just having funny dialogue. Writing a script incompasses what the subject is going to say, where they are, what they do, and basically everything that the viewer will see and hear, so don’t restrict your humour to banter.

Visual comedy is one of the oldest (and most timeless) gags to pull off in film. So much can be said with the body, and in some cases, more than any amount of dialogue can convey. Check out Xbox’s “Jump In” ad campaign.

This commercial, though being pulled from tv broadcast due to “violence”, was a viral hit in the early days of social sharing (2005). It still follows the formula of a mundane scenario met with an absurd aspect, this time being a western-style standoff, complete with (literal) handguns and mouth sound effects. Yet this time, not a single word was spoken. All the humour came from the absurdity of the scene and the absurdity of the actors.

And visual comedy doesn’t even stop with your actors. Shot composition; camera movement; lighting; special effects; you can use any aspect of film to add some form of humour if you’re clever enough.

In the end it's important to remember that like a good joke, your video needs a plan, set-up, and a great delivery. It needs to stick in the minds of your viewers with reason and delight. There’s nothing worse than a joke that flops. If you think you’re ready to tackle some comedy on camera, why not get a free quote to get the ball rolling?