How Effective Are Funny Advertisements?

4.1 based on 38 ratings

Updated on Nov 20, 2013

Grade Level: 9th to 12th; Type: Social Science


The objective of this experiment is to evaluate whether funny advertisements are more or less effective than serious advertisements.

Research Question:

Which type of advertisement (funny or serious) is most effective?

Some advertisements may be amusing, but do they effectively convey the message that the company wants to send? In this experiment, both funny and serious television commercials will be shown to test subjects. Participants will then be tested on the message of each ad. Based on these responses, you will evaluate which type of ad is most effective.


  • Five funny and five serious television commercials (each one should be advertising a different company/product)
  • Computer
  • Video editing software
  • Television or monitor for playing back videos
  • Printer
  • Male and female test subjects in a variety of age groups

Experimental Procedure

  1. Record five funny and five serious television commercials. They should be approximately the same length and represent different companies or brands.
  2. Stitch the videos together using video editing software. Make several versions of your final video by changing the order of commercials shown.
  3. Create a questionnaire to test participants’ memory of the subject matter discussed in each commercial. Example questions could include:
    • List the product advertised by each commercial that you viewed.
    • What company makes each of these products?
    • What was the overall message of each ad?
  4. Show one version of your video to a small group of test subjects. Wait five minutes after the video is completed, and ask test subjects to complete your questionnaire.
  5. Repeat step 4 with several more groups of test subjects. Include male and female participants from a variety of age groups. Use a different version of your video with each group. This helps to exclude the possibility that some advertisements will be more memorable because they were always shown to test subjects first or last.
  6. Analyze the questionnaires. Which advertisements were most memorable? Which were least memorable? How often did test subjects accurately name the brand/company represented in the funny commercials? How often did test subjects accurately name the brand/company represented in the serious commercials?

Terms/Concepts: effective advertising

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