Skip to content

Why humorous ads are a form of purposeful marketing?

Laughing is like exercising, meditating, and having sex at the same time, according to the behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University. When we laugh, our brains release a cocktail of healthy hormones, all at once. It releases endorphins, the same sort of hormones that are released with exercise. It reduces your cortisol, making you calmer. And it also increases oxytocin, which is the same hormone released during sex and childbirth.

Sharing laughter therefore shortens the distance between people, making them more open to disclosing personal information. Humour can defuse tension and bring us together like nothing else. It’s how we make friends, bond with co-workers, and get our entertainment. And yet, humour is often missing in many parts of our lives.

Looking at advertising in the past years, the amount of humorous ads has seen a sharp decline95% of business leaders now fear humor in consumer interactions. There are several explanations for this. One of the explanations is that purpose marketing has gained traction, and we often find it challenging to incorporate humour into serious causes. However, isn’t bringing people together (with the help of a good laugh) purposeful marketing in itself?

Picture of Author


Kim Pillen

Share the signal.

More Signals

Stay relevant.
Sign up for our
bi-weekly Signals.

A bi-weekly newsletter in which we keep track of what’s going on in the world and translate based on our sociocultural knowledge, what this means to brands.

Kim Pillen


Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips,, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff


Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.


Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist