Laugh Your Way to Success: The Power of Fun Content in Email Marketing


Adding a touch of humour and playfulness to even serious topics or products can significantly enhance your email campaigns. In this blog we'll delve into the psychology behind joyous content and explore how it can elevate your email marketing game. I’ll provide examples and practical tips to strike the right balance between fun and professionalism.

Picture this. You open your inbox and amidst all the promotions and newsletters, there's an email that brings a smile to your face. It's witty, playful, and downright enjoyable to read. That's the power of fun content in email marketing!

So, if you ever feel like your emails are lost in the inbox ‘sea of promotions’, struggling to get attention, worry no more because this approach will help you engage and stand out. Use fun and entertaining content – no matter your type of business.

I've long been an advocate of 'serious fun' (my term - could catch on?) The option to use humour for even the most corporate or sterile business to engage their audiences.

Simply by entertaining, the content itself engages. It removes the risk of not being relevant (our holy grail) as the smile factor in itself creates relevance. This reflects positively on the brand and provides an immediate value.

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Understanding the psychology behind fun content

Have you ever noticed how a good laugh leaves a lasting impression? That's because emotions play a significant role in how we remember things. Research tells us that positive emotions, like joy and laughter, enhance memory retention and make content more memorable. So, when you infuse your emails with humour, you're creating a lasting bond with your subscribers.

Beyond memory, fun content also sparks positive associations with your brand. According to a study by Kantar Millward Brown, advertisements that evoke positive emotions have a more significant impact on brand perception. When customers associate your brand with joy and happiness, they're more likely to feel connected and overtime become loyal advocates.

Think of your most favourite brands - how many of these use humour? As the research from HubSpot consumer trends shows - funny is the most memorable content.

07 Crawford 1 funny content is the most memorable

Here’s a real-life example of how fun content makes an impact. In their email campaigns, Dunkin' Donuts frequently use playful subject lines like "Doughnut Worry, Be Happy!" or "Time to Espresso Yourself!" The cheerful approach not only grabs attention, but also enhances brand perception amongst customers.

Adding humour to serious topics and overcoming challenges

But Nick, my brand is serious. My message needs gravitas. It’s about sensitive topics. Using humour is too risky? What if it backfires? All valid concerns.

Be respectful and empathetic in your approach. Humour perceived as offensive can lead to negative brand attitudes. Use your audience research and insight to assess sensitivity, to ensure you can win hearts by making your reader smile.

Consumers love fun content. According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute, +70% marketers believe that creating more engaging content is their top priority. And as we’ve seen already, the most engaging content is fun. What emails do you open first? Probably the ones that promise some excitement or laughter. We learn a lot as marketers by remembering our thoughts and feelings as consumers. Funny and entertaining works (in all scenarios) - it’s human nature.

Humour can be used for all types of business, product and service. There are some great examples from White label Comedy who specialise in using comedy across a spectrum of messages from charity to cat food.

  • Being funny brings out your brands human side
  • Humour helps you relate to current and potential customers
  • Funny is the core component of most viral content
  • Audiences want to be entertained


07 Crawford 2 Comedy Charity example



07 Crawford 3 Comedy Pet food example


Cleary if your message is already emotionally charged, then humour will not be the right approach. But even serious subjects like illness can be given a humorous twist, as a mix of content approaches across your campaigns.

Surprise and Delight

The other side of the coin to fun. When was the last time you created content that surprised and delighted? Research confirms that surprise triggers higher levels of attention and memory encoding. So, providing this emotional response creates a much stronger brand awareness and future recall. We know from DMA research (email consumer tracker) that the likelihood to open an email is significantly influenced by brand recognition.

Take the example of Sephora's Beauty Insider program. Subscribers receive personalized birthday surprises, exclusive offers, and limited-edition products. These delightful surprises not only boost customer satisfaction, but also encourage repeat purchases and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Let’s take this a step further. When your subscribers open an email expecting the usual, but instead find an unexpected treat, their interest skyrockets.

Blue Apron used a nice approach to surprise new subscribers. The newsletter signup on their website is convincing. A new recipe every week. What they didn’t tell you was that as a subscriber, you also got free food. Here’s the welcome email they sent a few minutes after the new subscriber signed up.

07 Crawford 4 blue apron email 2

Blue Apron could have used the free food as the hook to get new subscribers. Not doing this created the opportunity to delight subscribers with an unexpected surprise.

Balancing Fun and Seriousness to create a winning combination

So how do we strike the right balance between fun and seriousness. The key lies in understanding your audience and the context. Certain topics demand a more formal tone, while others lend themselves beautifully to humour. For example, a healthcare provider might use humour to ease dental anxiety, but they'll maintain a serious tone when discussing treatments.

It's not an "all or nothing" game. You can infuse humour into your emails without compromising professionalism.

Finance: Use a fun analogy to explain investment strategies, making complex concepts relatable and enjoyable for your audience.

Fashion: Run a "Caption This" contest featuring quirky outfit photos from your latest collection. The most creative caption wins a shopping spree.

Travel: Create a "Dream Holiday" quiz that matches subscribers with their ideal travel destination based on their personality.

Tech: Send out "Tech tips” in a humorous tone, simplifying complex tech jargon for everyday users. Nerdy (maybe) but approachable.

The Punch line

I urge you to harness the power of fun and entertaining content in your email marketing! Your subscribers are real people who appreciate a good laugh just as much as you do. By tapping into the psychology of joy, surprise, and delight, you'll not only make a lasting impression but also foster stronger connections with your audience.

Let your creativity run wild, experiment with humour, and “serious fun”! Yes, be mindful of your audience, respect their sensitivities, and stay true to your brand's personality (which should be a standard approach anyway.) Always keep your audience at the heart of your email marketing strategy. But entertain, make them smile and release the power of ‘fun.’

Unleash joy. Create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your subscribers. And with the right balance of fun and seriousness, your email campaigns are sure to engage like never before.

surface X1GZqv F7Tw unsplash 600Photo by Surface on Unsplash