Study: Women Prefer Humorous Ads

NEW YORK Marketers looking to target women might try putting more humor in their ads.

So say preliminary findings in a yearlong study prepared by Oxygen Media and Grey Global Group’s MediaCom. The study focuses on women and humor. Initial findings were released today.

Among the key points: twice as many younger women (18-34) as older women (50-plus) think sarcasm is funny; while virtually all women 18-49 (93 percent) agree that “If I find a commercial funny, I usually like watching it again.” And nearly nine in 10 women will tell other people about a funny commercial they like.

The study also found that 88 percent of women are less likely to change the channel during commercial breaks if the ads is funny, and the same percentage are more likely to remember a funny commercial than other types of messages.

The methodology for the research included both a qualitative and quantitative approach. Research took place in four cities and was conducted among equal groups of men and women talking about humor in life, TV and in advertising. A quantitative online survey was completed with 2000 women and 500 men, all over 18 years old and recruited by Roper.

“Our research about advertising effectiveness has long showed the value of well-targeted humor in attracting and holding audience attention,” said Ed Keller, CEO of RoperASW, which along with MediaCom conducted the study. (Oxygen conceived the original study premise.)

“We are very pleased to contribute further the knowledge base about how and when advertisers should use humor to connect in meaningful ways to women,” he said. “It’s clear from the results that there’s a great opportunity here that isn’t yet well understood, or well tapped.”