Dibs On Writing Your Obituary.

It makes me laugh every time. I wish I could give that birthday card to everyone I know. I also wish I knew who originally penned that quiet single line, destined to shock, amuse, and head-shake many people with superior senses of humor. Like me. They are a great writer, says I.

It’s a perfect hook. You simply must open it to see the rest. All it says inside is “Happy Birthday!” – perfect in its simplicity. The recipient gets a laugh and a think. They won’t forget who gave it to them. And it certainly surprises Broca.

Sounds like a perfect, funny, simple, hit-your-prospects-in-the-jaw kind of ad that every business owner wants to have and every writer wants the formula to create.

Sadly, I can’t give that birthday card to everyone I know. My 80-year-old dad would be offended at the thought. My 82-year-old mom would read it and let me know that of course I could, but don’t forget to ask the rest of the kids. And maybe, could she take a look at what I’m thinking before, well, before. You know….

My three boys would get the humor but, as their mom, yeah. That would be weird. And my husband and I will peacefully move on as a matched pair, I’m sure of it, so yeah, we’ll just write our obituaries together. Years from now.

One girlfriend I gave it to cracked up and showed it to everyone else at her party. Score one for fun! Another family friend shot back “Only if I can write yours”.

I bought a few of them, for the people who will enjoy the laugh, get the chuckle, and know that I love them as we celebrate their day and eat some cake or drink a glass of wine. I have pulled that card out of my birthday card file, thought about it, and refiled it for someone else, another birthday to come. It just doesn’t work for everyone. Funny has categories and not all kinds of funny fit all kinds of people the same.

Most people say they love a funny ad, but not all funny ads make everyone laugh. And the ones that do make listeners, viewers, and readers laugh, don’t always help you grow your business. Often, the ad is remembered but not the business it is meant to be advertising. Taco Bell sold a lot of chihuahuas but not a lot of tacos. A dog selling Mexican food just wasn’t funny and didn’t click.

So do you avoid funny ads? Only the facts ma’am. Straight ahead info, a sincere invitation, great words, and imagination. That’s all you need if your heart is pure and your business is needed. You will still get your unfair share of business if you and your writer find your sword in the stone and tell everyone about it. Entertainment is not the primary job of your ads. I mean yes, they need to capture attention and invite but some cool SFX and great information can do that. Entertainment is the price of attention, but it doesn’t have to be funny.

But, here’s the problem. That’s not fun. Not all the time anyway. By avoiding the risk of a good giggle, business owners also avoid framing their business in a unique memorable way. For sure, there will be some who shake their head at your pun, or don’t see what’s funny in a jingle that sets your name to a karaoke-style jazz rendition of “Climb Every Mountain.” So get ready, if you want to approach the edge but don’t push it. If all you can come up with is a fart joke, maybe that won’t work to grow your business. Unless your business is selling beans…. magic beans perhaps. With the giant waking up because of the sudden, loud, ripping sound of… yeah, actually, that might work.

People will laugh and they will remember you sell beans. And you will sell more beans.

You will get calls if the funny is funny enough. And the calls will be stories you can tell. From people who find your humor shocking. And will never shop for your product again. What is this world coming to, when you can’t even turn the radio on without being bombarded with stinky loud (not bad!) humor that skids to a stop (ouch!) and leaves their tighty whities (homerun!) in a knot? Think of the children!!!! (The kids Always love a good fart joke: it’s family-friendly, real, and I think SFX of children’s laughter would be perfect to close out the ad!) We could sell a ton of beans, I’m sure of it.

Not to everyone. But that’s okay. Even the people who never shop for your Beans again will tell people about your ads. And some of them will laugh. And probably buy your beans.

I don’t think humor is always the way to go. But let’s look for a plan that includes a smile when someone hears your ads. It will make the kids in the backseat giggle, and remind the world of Saturday morning cartoons when they meant something because cartoons didn’t exist all the time, with the flic of a snap of an on-demand menu.

Let’s talk about your business before we decide if we are going to write a funny ad. Let’s explore how we make sure people remember who you are, what you do, and how you made them smile that day in traffic, or sitting at their desk with an impossible deadline.

People remember and search out smiles and laughter and a business willing to give them that gift. Done right, it’s the difference between someone walking into your shop, or the one across the street.

This reminds me of another reason the chicken crossed the road. Because he didn’t want to walk on eggshells. And he wanted to do business with someone who agreed.