Unleash the Niche: Tips to Tapping an Audience’s Funny Bone


While some brands charm consumers with mass-marketing tactics, others succeed by choosing a more tailored approach via niche strategies. In a brand playbook, marketers need to ask themselves which is more effective: casting a wide net or fishing in a dense area?

We can reasonably suggest that targeted advertising towards a specific niche is more efficient than non-targeted advertising. But when it comes to niche humor, things aren’t so black-and-white. The reason is that niche humor has the potential to range from super obnoxious to super effective. Given the delicate balance between funny and offensive, brands need to be careful, as it could mean the difference between negative and positive brand associations and sentiment, as well as a gain or loss of customers and brand advocates/detractors.

Succeeding with niche humor requires the following:

  1. A thorough understanding of the target audience
  2. A clearly defined and unique voice
  3. A sense of humor that aligns with both of the above

Niche humor gone wrong:


Probably intended for 20-somethings who like vodka and enjoy going out, but predators are the only ones who would enjoy this ad. Belvedere, WTH?

Niche humor done right:


Just the right amount of naughty, and clever too. High five, Axe.

3 Reasons Why Niche Humor > Mainstream Humor:

  1. More likely to strengthen brand affinity within target

Beyond social actions, the power of niche humor lies in its ability to inspire advocacy. If used correctly, niche humor will seem like an inside joke between the brand and the target. Realizing a particular brand ‘gets you’ deepens your bond with them. And the deeper the bond, the more probability for advocacy. Since this possibility can’t exist unless the brand understands its audience, knowing one’s target needs to be highest on the priority list.

  1. More sharable amongst target audience

When you feel like content was tailored for you, you’re more inclined to share it, simply because it resonates with you more than generic content does. Not only that, but since the content is niche-specific, you’d probably prefer to share it with people who will actually appreciate it (a.k.a. friends and family who belong to that niche).

This hypothetical share benefits everyone involved: you feel great because you “discovered” cool content worthy of sharing, certain friends join in on the conversation, and the brand reaches even more of its target, without paying any extra. For example, if I was a mom with a daughter, I’d share the HelloFlo ad with other moms who have daughters, because it’d be super relevant (and possibly useful) to them.

  1. Humanizes the brand more efficiently

When the niche humor used is consistent with the brand’s voice, it emphasizes a brand’s individual personality. And a brand with a strong, consistent personality has a better chance of resonating with the target than one without.

In certain cases, a brand’s (niche) sense of humor can be so effective that it actually reaches beyond the target and resonates with the mainstream. A few unforgettable favorites: the over-enthusiastic Dell Dude, the bald/crazy/old guy who danced in the 6 Flags commercials, & the Taco Bell Chihuahua.

In short: Don’t be cliché. Don’t be generic. Get in touch with your brand’s inner niche and do something unique.


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