03.12.2019 change 03.12.2019
Karolina Duszczyk
Karolina Duszczyk

Łódź You Believe It! Researchers Looking for Universal Recipe for Humour in Advertising

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Researchers from Łódź are attempting to discover if there is a global ‘sense of humour’ by studying how people respond to different types of adverts.

By investigating humour used in advertising, and on intercultural differences, Dr. Małgorzata Karpińska-Krakowiak from the University of Łódź hopes to answer questions about what makes Poles laugh, whether an American will understand Russian humour and why the Japanese are so conservative.

She said: "Ads containing humorous content effectively attract the attention of recipients and build consumers` acceptance towards the advertising message and its sender.”

She added that humour has been used in advertising for many years because it can shape various consumer behaviours. It is the subject of research around the world. In her opinion, however, there is a lack of empirical scientific papers that would explore this issue in the intercultural context.

She said: ”It is still unclear how intercultural differences affect the perception of humour in advertising, and how particular cultural circles differ in the use of humorous hints in advertising messages. And yet people from different countries laugh at different ads, and use different styles and types of humour to promote products and services.”

Although people from different cultures laugh at different things and use humour in different situations, she argues that it is important to know why this happens. In her opinion, explaining these differences with a "cultural context" is not enough. Advertisers do not know who and why in different cultures will laugh at their - intentionally funny - advertising.

But she says, it’s not only the cultural circle that matters - a person’s life situation also has an effect on what ads we find funny. In example, she cites an experiment by Professor Martin Eisend from the University of Viadrina which showed that people in long-term relationships were less responsive to humour in advertising. This is an evolutionary concept: humour is a hint when choosing a future partner. Other concepts assume the impact of humour on well-being, but it is unclear whether humour affects well-being or vice versa.

Intercultural psychologists also describe how a given cultural circle communicates with the environment. For example, in Japan you can not show extreme emotions: laughter, crying will be hidden; quite the opposite in the US. Dr Karpińska-Krakowiak points out that neither Poles nor Germans have been studied with regard to their reaction to ads with and without humour.

She and her team plan to include more nationalities in their research and experiments. They will analyse their results in the context of previously available publications and check what guarantees laughter, good mood and happy associations in a wider group of people.

The Polish researchers will work in an international group, which will be joined by professors Martin Eisend, Charles Gulas and Marc Weinberger whose research has shown that online ads containing humour are more likely to be shared, liked, and have more views than ads without humour.

For the project "Application and effects of humour in advertising - an attempt to explain intercultural differences" the researcher received approx. 381 thousand PLN in the Beethoven Classic competition financed by the National Science Centre.

PAP - Science in Poland, Karolina Duszczyk

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