Archive for Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Young viewers appreciate humor in TV commercials

February 6, 2007


Several of the commercials during Sunday's Super Bowl were peppered with off-the-wall humor, like the Snickers ad that showed two auto mechanics ripping hair from their chests to restore their manliness. The silliness likely kept several Lawrence-area teenagers happy as they watched spots that cost companies an average of $2.6 million per 30 seconds.

Members of Angle, a Journal-World student advisory board, say they like to laugh while understanding a product's purpose in advertisements.

"Usually humor will get you to remember it if it's actually funny," says Victoria Gilman, a West Junior High School eighth-grader. "They have to show you that the product actually applies to you."

Humor has long been a tradition for television, radio and print advertising. Advertising experts have said for the last few years that statistics show more companies marketing toward children. That way they can try to reach younger consumers and have a stake in the increased amounts people are spending on children, according to a study by the Web site Commercial Alert.

The Angle members nearly overwhelmingly listed television as their favorite source for advertising. The Geico cavemen and the Staples Easy Button ads were mentioned frequently.

So does that mean Lawrence students encourage their parents to switch their auto insurance to Geico or buy supplies at Staples?

"Sometimes it may be more of a stretch for teenagers or children to specifically identify with a certain product beyond commercials," says Owen Blackwood, a Central Junior High School eighth-grader.

But good ads can plant a seed with growing consumers, group members say.

As for some of their least favorite commercials, the advertising for HeadOn, a homeopathic pain medication that works like a chap stick applied directly to the forehead, is featured on YouTube, the popular video Web site. The ads repeat the phrase "HeadOn, directly to the forehead" and show an actor rubbing several other objects like an iron, stapler and a chair onto his forehead in the same fashion.

"They don't even say what it does," Gilman says.

Also, some Angle members say they dislike ads that try to make parodies of their favorite movies, like the DirecTV commercials that use "Back to the Future."

"They made fun of it. It was so wrong," says Emma Machell, a West Junior High seventh-grader.

Group members listed humor as one of an ad's most attractive elements, but they also indicated they were attracted to social issues portrayed as well, such as the former Dove commercials that didn't use typical models.

"It makes you want to support their cause and want to support their company," says Hannah Fowler, a Central Junior High seventh-grader.


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