Traditionally, social marketers motivate people to wear seat belts, give to charity, or say no to drugs with vivid, distressing ads. However, social marketing is in the midst of a major paradigm shift. Instead of being scary or depressing, many social marketers are being funny. In one ad, for instance, actor Ryan Reynolds teaches men how to check their “man berries” for testicular cancer, while wearing a superhero costume. Across two papers, I investigate how using humor to “sell” goodwill and health compares to the more traditional model of using fear.
Schiro, Julie L. (2016), “Using Humor to ‘Sell’ Good Life Choices,” Manuscript in Progress. Download PDF
McGraw, A. P., Julie L. Schiro, Philip M. Fernbach (2015), “Not a Problem: A Downside of Humorous Appeals,” Journal of Marketing Behavior, 1 (2), 187-208. Download PDF