Brands just want to have fun
: how humor influences advertising efficiency : the successful case study of MEO

  • Cátia Patrícia Apólito Pinto (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Past literature has suggested that humor tends to have a positive influence on the effectiveness of advertising. In order to explore how companies and communication departments can increase their positive results, enhancing their positions in the operating markets and surpassing competition, three dimensions related to humorous literature are investigated. The attitude towards the brand otherwise stated as the emotional response developed by consumers about a specific brand, seems to be highly influenced by the use of comedy. In addition, the degree of message comprehension retained by viewers is also significantly affected if a joke is inserted in the advertisement. Finally, consumers remember more often and more clearly a brand that has been communicated in a funny context. These three dimensions are the basis of this dissertation, seeing they act for major brands as guidelines of their success track and a benchmark for accessing competition. A brand that conquers a positive outcome in such features can describe itself as a successful brand. This paper aims to present a practical example of this subject matter with Portugal Telecom as background. The group introduced the brand MEO in 2008 and since then it has relied on humor and humorous celebrities to reach consumers and their preference. Over the years, several approaches and styles of humor were used, culminating in the most successful campaign so far: M4O Uma outra vida. With a very well designed strategy and the appropriated use of humor, directed to the product and the brand, M4O achieved the best results the company has seen until now: It is the top choice of consumers and the most recalled brand of Portuguese viewers. Nevertheless, the company looks for the future and questions whether or not it should continue with this positioning or if it is time to innovate the market again. This paper is divided in three main sections: an initial look of what academic literature states regarding humor, its outcomes and possible moderators of final results; a detailed description of the real case of M40, where it can be found the initial environment, the company strategy and the main results; and finally a research experiment that confronted 40 participants with 2 different vignettes in which the humor factor was manipulated. Results show that humor produces high levels of recall as well as a good mood in viewers, which leads to positive brand associations. In what concerns to comprehension, messages are better understood when delivered within humorous context, whereas in informational adds there is a delay in memorizing information given the inexistence of an initial stimuli that grabs attention.
Date of Award6 Nov 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPedro Celeste (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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