Is Your Brand a Joke?

I enjoy a funny story as much as anyone.  But not every joke is worth telling, certainly not in all places, at all times.

Just because you can tell it doesn’t mean that you should.

Context matters, it really does.  Letting fly a formidable beer belch might impress your buddies at the bowling alley, but how would it be received at, say, the library, or in the middle of a church service?

Likewise, the use of certain language that could be described as “colorful” in one context, might be considered crude and crass in another.   Same words, different context.

This came to mind recently when an unusual product display caught my eye.  It was right there at the checkout counter of a small retail store where I occasionally shop, whose mix of customers includes moms and dads, kids and grandparents, students and teachers, farmers and city folk.  There’s no way anybody checking out would miss this display.

Funny to some, but at what cost?

Did it offend me?  No.  I just smiled and shook my head in disbelief.  I did feel a twinge of embarrassment though, for the young lady at the cash register, who obviously was not entirely comfortable with the situation.

Some customers may find this display funny; others not so much.  Is the price of a joke or a few pennies of profit on the sale of these items worth risking a customer’s disapproval?

Of course, what I think doesn’t matter; I don’t have a pony in their race.

But if it were my business…?

Well, knowing that the lifetime value of just one good customer is far greater than the value of a single transaction or a fleeting snicker, I think I’d have given it a second thought.

But that’s just me.

About Rod Schwartz

Rod Schwartz backed into a lifelong career in radio advertising in 1973 in Springfield, Illinois. He joined the Pullman (Wash.) Radio Group in 1979, where he worked until his retirement at the end of 2022. Since 1991, Rod and his family have operated Grace Broadcast Sales (, providing short-form syndicated radio features to radio and TV stations across the U.S. and Canada. Rod also operates an independent advertising, marketing, and communications consultancy for small business owners and professionals, An avid photographer, Rod shares some of his favorite images of the Palouse at and on his Viewbug gallery.
This entry was posted in Advertising (General), Branding, Communication, Copywriting, Print, Professional Services Advertising, Promotions, Sales & Marketing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is Your Brand a Joke?

  1. Suzanne Parkins says:

    It reminds me of the Franks Hot Sauce ad on TV…. I put that s^%$t on everything!
    I put up a audio file on my page that is also “edgy” question…. too edgy???


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