Today the Brand Newsroom team looks at how brands use humour to interact with their customers on social media. Is it ever a good idea? Or can it spectacularly backfire? And, sometimes, are brands perhaps using humour in the hope they will “go viral”, rather than focusing on first marketing principles and giving customers the good service they expect.


First up, here’s the article about Tesco responding to the tweet about their mobile product.

  • Interacting with customers on social can be an opportunity to be funny but there’s also an opportunity to offend people — so be careful how you do it.
  • Sarcasm doesn’t work. People don’t like seeing that come from brands. Be self-effacing.
  • Don’t ever make fun of natural or human disasters.

“You could easily just ignore it but Tesco has jumped on it, they’ve seen it as an opportunity to be witty and capture some attention.” — James


  • Monitor how your brand name is being used on social and respond to it if necessary — whether that’s with humour or not.
  • Consumers like it when two brands interact on social with humour.

“You don’t want to offend people, you want to bring people along.” — Sarah


  • While marketing managers might want to “go viral”, it’s not always in the best interest of the brand. Ask yourself why you’re doing it before you try to “go viral”.
  • If you’re going to use humour it should be part of your strategy — know how you’re going to use it, have guidelines, stick to them.
  • Have some courage. It can pay off.

“There are certain brands out there that try a little too hard. It’s very obvious and you will pay for it.” — Nic


Here are the links you might need

  • Sarah mentioned Mention, the social media monitoring service. You can find it here.
  • Here’s an article about the Greggs and Google back-and-forth from a couple of years ago.
  • If you want to know more about Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat, check out this article.
  • You can #dunkinthedark with Oreo’s here. And the movie theatre’s reply is here.
  • Take a look at Black Milk Clothing’s social media humour disaster here. And here’s Luton Airport’s.
  • Here’s James’s hilarious example of a pun-filled (and rather fishy) Twitter exchange.
  • But really, the most fun you will have today is watching the John West ad Nic mentioned (it has actually been voted “the best ad of all time” in some polls).


Have you heard the one about…

Here’s James, Sarah and Nic’s discussion with Jordana Borensztijn about using humour in your content…


And here’s a discussion from last week about dealing with PR disasters…


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Of the top ten most trusted people in America, five of them are actors — and most are celebrities. That’s according to a Reader’s Digest poll. Why, in 2016, are entertainers (who spend their lives pretending to be someone else) trusted more than politicians and policy-makers or investigative reporters and news anchors? Why are brands like banks and retailers constantly marked down on trust by consumers?

Today, the Brand Newsroom team looks at trust. Who do we trust and why? And how do we build trust where it’s lacking?


Here are some key take-outs:

  • The most trusted people on the list were Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep. Fifth was the late poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou.

“We’re living in a crisis of trust. If these are the people we most trust… that’s probably because we don’t know much about them. — Sarah


  • A new report from the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) identified consumers had problems of trust with: politicians, media, banks, large corporations and retailers.
  • What do these groups have in common? They’re all seen as wanting something from the consumer — be it their vote, a purchase, their money, etc.

“There’s a huge opportunity for brands that do want to earn trust… because we can learn from those category and look at what they’re doing and what the opposite of that might be. — James


  • The most ethical industries, according to the GIA report, were those known for helping people: not-for-profits, fire and ambulance, education and the health sector.
  • Get into a situation where your brand is helping Change your marketing to use a helpful tone, then you’ll have some purchase with consumers.

“Trust is so easily lost, even if you just take your foot off the pedal a little bit. Don’t take your audience for granted. If you do that, you will fail.” — Nic


Here are the links you might need

Have you heard the one about…

Last week James and Sarah took a close look at the death of traditional concepts around demographics.

And here’s a discussion about good news and bad news and how brands can take positive opportunities from negative news.


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