Humour can be a great tool for marketers, as it really helps a campaign to stand out and make an impression on a target audience.

However, it’s essential to ensure that a lighter tone is used in an appropriate context. That’s why some organisations might wonder whether or not they should use a few jokes when they are launching a serious campaign.

After all, they don’t want to undermine the importance of the message they are putting across just for a few cheap laughs.

But it’s worth pointing out that humour can often aid serious campaigns, as it forces people to confront issues that they might otherwise turn a blind eye towards.

Public Health England (PHE) is among those that believes an irreverent approach could help consumers confront some uncomfortable truths.

The governmental body has launched a new promotional drive for its Stoptober initiative, which encourages people to quit smoking throughout October.

Comedians including Al Murray and Paddy McGuinness will star in sketches to be shown during TV ad breaks to support the scheme, while they will also post amusing content on the Stoptober Twitter and Facebook page on the very first day of the challenge.

This will be complemented by advertisements across digital platforms, cinema screens, radio stations and national print publications.

The Stoptober initiative fell short of its targets last year, with just 130,000 people successfully managing to quit smoking, when the aim was to cut the number by 160,000.

Furthermore, the number of registrations fell from 275,000 to 250,000. It is therefore clear that PHE felt a different approach was needed this time around in order to get closer to – or hopefully achieve – the targets it had set.

Sheila Mitchell, marketing director at the organisation, commented: “It’s a common British trait to use our sense of humour to help get through difficult times, so comedy is an excellent route to helping people stay motivated, as well as providing them with the necessary distractions, when quitting.”

Government injects humour into this year’s Stoptober push, Marketing Week

Posted by Robin McCrink