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Truth In Advertising? Try Some Humor Instead.

Scott Cooter
Scott Cooter Creative Director / Senior Copywriter

Nudge-Nudge, Wink-Wink
In case you didn’t know it, March is International Mirth Month. And in honor of this momentous occasion, we’re focusing on ad concepts and headlines based on familiar phrases, puns and clichés. After all, some of the most memorable campaigns ever created were simply new spins on old one-liners.

Who can forget Charlie Tuna and “Sorry, Charlie – we’re looking for tuna that tastes good, not tuna with good taste?” Just as the most effective sell copy’s built upon thoughts the audience already believes, the best headlines connect with phrases we already know.

Some headlines, like Morton Salt’s double entendre “When it rains, it pours,” have a grain of truth in them (Oops! sorry)… their salt won’t clump in the shaker, no matter how humid it gets.

Other headlines are just plain fun… like my favorite car ad of all time, from BMW. So good on so many levels, if you’re an enthusiast.

And then you have Altoids. It’s amazing what one word (and a truly painful picture) can accomplish in the right hands.

Or what no words can accomplish, for that matter.

A cliché touché for Porsche…

Followed by a double entendre. Sehr Gut, I say!

No, not a typo. A play on letters instead of words creates a wonderfully cerebral Wonderbra ad.

Oh, baby! Need we say more?

The Economist prides itself on the quality of their content (and the collective IQ of their readership), and their ads convey that in quick, punny ways.

Okay, time to wrap it up. And what better way to do it than with the marketing shot heard round the world?

Loud, ugly, and almost totally lacking in creature comforts, the VW Bug was anything but in step with the times. With a simple, tongue-in-cheek headline, this stroke of advertising genius turned the Bug’s flaws into assets, created its lovable personality, and made it desirable. The car (and the ad) are now icons, and the brilliant be-where-they’re-not thinking still holds up to this day.

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