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The advertising of services: what is an appropriate role for humor?

Douglas L. Fugate (Professor, Department of Economics and Marketing, College of Business Administration, Western Kentucky University, Kentucky, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 December 1998



The use of humor is quite prevalent in the promotion of US goods and services. Estimated expenditures on humorous advertisements are in the billions and a majority of advertisements may contain some humorous elements. Unfortunately, not much attention has been focused specifically on the role of humor in the advertising of services. By using the available humor‐related literature and synthesizing it with services marketing literature, a set of logically supported propositions was determined. Specifically, propositions are offered regarding the ability of humor to attract attention, increase comprehension, effect source credibility, and enhance liking. In addition, audience factors, the nature of the service product, the superiority of humor over non‐humor, the relatedness of humor to the product and the extension of humor into the international marketplace are examined.



Fugate, D.L. (1998), "The advertising of services: what is an appropriate role for humor?", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 12 No. 6, pp. 453-472.




Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited

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