8 funny commercials to inspire your next video campaign

29th August 2019
Author: Chris McKay
Posted in: Creation

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is commercials. I’m the kind of person who arrives at the movies early enough to catch the ads. Without fail.

No matter if your brand is B2B or B2C, there’s always room for comedy in your video campaigns. Using humor to shape your marketing is a tried-and-tested method of getting people on board with your message.

So in my (self-professed) expertise opinion, here are 8 funny commercials for you to get some inspiration from.

Spotify – Let the song play

In Spotify’s latest ad campaign, they’re relating to an experience we can all get behind.

I mean who hasn’t been intentionally late because they had to wait for their favorite song to finish playing?

Spotify’s VP, global executive creative director, Alex Bodman, gives some insight behind their commercial: “The creative started with a simple insight that we rarely discuss, but everyone can relate to. Then, the team got to work on bringing the insight to life with a healthy dose of Spotify’s sense of humor. Hopefully, it makes people laugh while reminding them how much better driving is when you have the perfect soundtrack.”

Dollar Shave Club – Our blades are f***ing great

You might recognize Dollar Shave Club from (seemingly) every sponsored video with YouTube influencers. This brand loves leveraging new media to get themselves out there.

And with more than 26 million views on YouTube, their commercial was a knockout.

Using one of their founders, Michael Dubin (who has a background in comedy acting) as the leading actor was a stroke of genius. The commercial’s content is funny, no doubt about it, but the fact that he’s the face makes the brand seem all the more authentic.

Within just 48 hours of the video’s launch, they saw 12,500 signups to their service. The director, Lucia Aniello, said that the entire video cost just $4,500 to create due to Dubin’s connections. She estimates that it would have cost most companies $50,000.

Metro Trains in Melbourne – Dumb ways to die

Who knew public services had it in them?

Metro Trains in Melbourne commissioned advertising agency McCann to create an animated video raising awareness of railway safety.

I don’t think anyone could have guessed how successful this little video would be: amassing over 180 million views, reaching the top 10 iTunes chart within 24 hours, becoming the third most shared ad of all time, and even spawning a game app with over 10 million downloads and 7 billion unique plays.

It’s campaigns like this that most marketers can only dream of pulling off. By turning a public service announcement into a humorous video, they completely went against the status quo and saw eye-watering success as a result. 

McDonald’s McCafe – Madness

Are you tired of walking into a coffee shop and feeling like you need a PhD in Chemistry just to read the menu?

McDonald’s is banking on that being the case with their ad for McCafe.

By highlighting the negative qualities of their competitors, they’re able to showcase their own simple, affordable approach.

It’s not often we cheer on a major corporation against independent businesses, so kudos to McDonald’s for pulling it off and making us laugh doing it.

The National Lottery – #PleaseNotThem with James Blunt

Featuring a celebrity isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but James Blunt’s collaboration with The National Lottery in their #PleaseNotThem campaign is genius.

Creating a refreshing ad for the lottery is a real challenge. There’s only so many times we can watch what life would be like if we became suddenly rich before it gets tired and unconvincing.

So what was The National Lottery’s solution? They showed us how horrible it would be if certain celebrities won, including the likes of Piers Morgan and Katie Price.

And let’s be honest, if James Blunt really was like his depiction in this video, we’d want anyone else to win too.

Old Spice – The man your man could smell like

I particularly love this commercial because it shows how a brand can switch their targeting up when they discover new information.

Old Spice changed its target audience to women because it emerged that women make the majority of decisions when it comes to purchasing men’s body wash products.

And switching things up worked. The commercial won several awards that year, has over 56 million views, and led to a series of popular videos with Terry Crews.

Zendesk – Bad phone support in real life

You didn’t think I would leave out B2B brands, did you?

Just because you’re not selling to consumers, doesn’t mean your commercials should be dry and boring.

Zendesk’s “customer service software” doesn’t sound super hilarious to you? Think again.

They used humor to showcase the service they can offer in a creative comedy sketch that would give SNL a run for their money.

Cisco – A special Valentine’s day gift

Cisco’s high powered-router (ASR9000) isn’t exactly what you’d consider to be the most romantic of products…

Which is exactly why they created this valentine’s day commercial claiming it as the perfect gift.

Not only did they manage to streamline a very complex product into a simple, classy and funny ad, but they found a way to highlight its very technical features in a way that would genuinely interest their target audience while amusing everyone else.

Nice job Cisco! It just goes to show that no matter what you’re selling, there’s always room to make people laugh.