The Ha-Ha Factor: Want People to Watch Your Video? Make It Funny

Even corporations that are traditionally very straight-laced are loosening up and injecting a little bit of funny into their videos. Case in point: Delta.

A woman flight attendant talking to the camera

One of my favorite parts of working as a copywriter is that I get to take on different kinds of work. Sometimes I’m doing catalog work, sometimes I’m writing print ads, and other times I’m ghostwriting blogs for clients. The variety keeps things interesting for me, but it also helps my work: Writing in different formats and tones keeps me on my toes a little bit (metaphorically — I’m not actually writing this on tiptoe), and it keeps my work fresh. Lately, I’ve been writing a lot of video scripts, so I’ve been checking out what’s trending right now on the video front. (Yeah, that means I’m watching lots of YouTube videos and calling it work. And, yeah, that’s kind of awesome.)

Two men looking at each other while they are sitting in seats in a plane

So … what’s popular in video? Humor. Even corporations that are traditionally very straight-laced are loosening up and injecting a little bit of funny into their videos. Case in point: Delta. Their safety videos give all the usual instructions — fasten your seatbelts, put on your air mask before helping others, stow your small items, etc. — but they’ve added a few quirky bits, too, like a man using an abacus to avoid needing to turn off his electronics, or a trio of men (who recur in the videos) wearing disguises to be let back into the safety exit row.

I asked the videographer I’m working with on a current project why he thinks funny videos are working so well right now. “A lot of times we tune out informational videos,” he said. “Adding humor helps to change that. If we’re being entertained, we’re paying attention.”

For example, I could write a blog telling you that adding humor to your corporate video is a good idea. But if I filmed a video with Jason Lovoy sitting at his desk and talking about funny videos, and then had Alex sneak up behind him and pour a bucket of water on his head — well, that image would probably stick with you just a little bit more. (I checked. He wasn’t into it.) What makes Delta’s videos work, and how can you adapt the concept for your company? The airline’s videos use humor when appropriate, but they don’t go over the line. The important messages come through, and they’re not turned into jokes. It’s the silly, less important stuff (like stowing small items under the seat in front of you) that we’re invited to laugh at.

Whether or not you’re actually including videos on your site, you can use humor to entertain your readers. It helps when our audience knows we’re not taking ourselves too seriously, and you can use things like lighthearted blog posts, funny headlines or quirky menu categories to do that, too. Keep it light, keep it personable, and keep it funny — keep them laughing, and they’ll more likely to listen to what you’re really trying to say.


About Carrie

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.

See more articles from Carrie Rollwagen

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