Yard signs are unique marketing materials since most of them are voluntarily put up outside someone’s house or business. Yard signs are therefore an extension of a homeowner’s personality and beliefs. That’s why some people and businesses inject humor in their signs as a way to spread their message.
But does adding humor to yard signs do more harm than good?
An argument could be made that being clear and straightforward is the right way to go. Humor, after all, can be subjective. What you might find funny may not be the case for the rest of the neighborhood If your jokes fail to hit the mark, you may just end up offending others.
John Caples, who was an expert at direct-response marketing and the man who wrote books like “Tested Advertising Methods” (1932) and “Advertising Ideas” (1938) had debunked the use of humor in advertising. He once said, “only half the people in this country have a sense of humor, and clever ads seldom sell anything.” Although, that could have been a product of the times and not reflective of our society today.
The primary reason why people choose to be funny with their signs is that many find professional-looking marketing materials boring. On the other hand, when done right, funny signs can have positive effects. In an article published by Inc.com called The Case for Humor, they stated three positive effects of adding humor in marketing:
- Humor establishes rapport
- Humor triggers memorability
- Humor creates alignment
Let’s dig deeper into each one starting with the first point. Humor establishes rapport. Making people laugh would make you likable. And when people like you, they’re more inclined to do business with your company. Being funny also has another perk — it demonstrates confidence and strength.
As for memorability, people find it easier to remember funny things. You may have forgotten what you had for breakfast yesterday but you remember jokes you’ve heard as a kid word for word. A funny sign can help people recall whatever it is you are promoting.
And the last point, humor creates alignment, refers to our ability to use our shared experiences to make a connection. Everyone hates traffic, right? That’s why when one of us makes a joke about it, the other person connects with us on some level. We can both laugh about it because the two parties feel the same way about the topic.
In a CBS news article by Tom Searcy called Selling with Humor, he states:
“Ignore those snobs who say humor has no place in sales and marketing, that prospects don’t buy from clowns, or you should never poke fun at your own brand. They do not understand the likeability factor of humor.”
He may very well be correct. If you think you can create yard signs that are funny, you should be bold enough to do so. We buy things from people or companies we like.
I personally think it’s possible to create funny yard signs and not suffer from any sort of backlash. Just be critical of your copy and make sure they’re not offensive. Have a team review the ad before distributing. I would err on the side of caution for real estate and political yard signs though. Some signs are better left looking professional.
Ready to print your own yard signs? Let us help!
Bonus: 31 Funny Yard Signs!