Ever Wondered Why Dilbert And Garfield Were Such Hits? – The Learning Curve

The ability to laugh at a situation or problem gives us a feeling of superiority and power. Humour and laughter can foster a positive and hopeful attitude. We are less likely to succumb to feelings of depression and helplessness if we are able to laugh at what is troubling us. Humour gives us a sense of perspective on our problems. Laughter provides an opportunity for the release of those uncomfortable emotions which, if held inside, may create biochemical changes that are harmful to the body.

Many times, when there is a situation wherein you are upset, tensed or bothered about something, the defence mechanism in your mind tries to soothe that anxiety by trying to be in a place where other people are worse off as compared to you. Experts claim that this is how humour works.

Humour creates a character that you can laugh at. This is evident in the fact that cartoon strips like Dilbert, Garfield, Suppandi etc. and comedy sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family etc. have characters where you feel that they are bigger losers than we are. This is because they are more exaggerated versions of our own anxieties. So if Sheldon Cooper lacks social skills, we feel ‘Yes, he’s worse than me. I can make a better attempt at talking to a hot girl than he can’. If Garfield is lazy and a glutton, we say ‘Well, I’m surely not like him’. This is how humour works.

There are 3 scenarios which can make you laugh. In the first one, you can laugh at someone. In the second, you laugh at someone who’s worse than you. Finally, you laugh at someone who is so powerful than you and the only thing you can do about it is just laugh at them. This can be made clearer by understanding political satires.

Have you ever wondered why there are so many cartoons and memes on politicians? You know for a fact that they are powerful than you and there’s nothing you can do about it so the only way to vent out your frustration is to make jokes or cartoons or memes about them. By poking fun at them is the only way you can deal with it.

Hence, this how humour works and comic strips get so popular since people of all ages and cultures respond to humour.

Marketers can use humour to sell their brand without actually selling something. In this way, consumers do not feel that companies are trying to take out money from their pocket and at the same time they will remember the joke and the brand. But many times humour can upset certain sections of society so it has to be used very carefully.

Most companies can and should be able to use humour to their advantage by creating hilarious and memorable ads. This is because even if someone not from the target audience sees it, he should share the humour with someone else thereby increasing the awareness of that company’s brand. But it should also be noted that mostly, humour increases brand awareness and does not necessarily mean that the product recall or impact of the message will be remembered by the customers.


Originally Published on: Learning Curve