This paper aims to investigate the experience of darkness on people’s evaluation of humorous taboo-themed ads and their willingness to share these ads digitally with others.
Multiple studies are conducted to demonstrate the connection between darkness and humor. Another experiment was conducted to investigate people’s willingness to share taboo-themed ads.
The results demonstrate that people in dark settings (vs light) found controversial, taboo-themed ads to be more humorous. Three studies demonstrate that people in the dark (vs light) condition found taboo-themed ads to be more humorous. More importantly, despite finding taboo-themed ads to be more humorous, people in dark settings (vs light) were less inclined to share these ads on social media platforms.
When using humorous taboo-themed ads, advertisers are encouraged to show these ads in dark settings. If the physical environment is uncontrollable, marketers may still benefit by cueing consumers about darkness (e.g. through their products) or reminding them of nightly activities which may also yield similar effects. However, the cautionary tale is that, although people in the dark may enjoy these ads, they may not be willing to share it with others.
Marketers utilize taboo-themed ads to increase consumer interest. Despite its controversial content, darkness enhances people’s evaluation toward these taboo-themed ads. However, if one of the goals of advertisers is to create an ad that is amenable to sharing, developing a humorous taboo-themed ad may not be the most rewarding strategy.
Authors 2-5 contributed equally to this manuscript. The order of authorship is displayed in alphabetical order.
Lee, S.H.(M)., Brandt, A., Groff, Y., Lopez, A. and Neavin, T. (2017), "I’ll laugh, but I won’t share: The role of darkness on evaluation and sharing of humorous online taboo ads", Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 75-90. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-05-2016-0037Download as .RIS
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