7 July 2021

Sue Higgs: Why funny ads are missing out this awards season

In a recent piece in Campaign, Sue Higgs, Joint Executive Creative Director, dentsuMB UK, shared her view on funny ads, their pitfalls and promise. Read below for the excerpt and the full piece in Campaign.




I had the honour of sitting on the Cannes Film shortlist jury. Given the year we’ve all had, we could do with a laugh, but they were thin on the ground.


Quite rightly there was a lot of great, purpose-driven community work, but when there was a funny film, like Droga5’s for Petco, or Saatchis'  for Tide, this judge’s Zoomed-out eyeballs embraced the levity the humour brought. And I still remember them. Humour stays with you, see, it’s a powerful tool. People in the UK still talk fondly about adland’s Fawlty Towers, Blackcurrant Tango.


Great humour is a dying art, it’s difficult, you need great writing and a client who shares your sense of humour. Maybe that’s why it’s rarely briefed in. Researching humour is tricky too; trying to pull off humour on a “board-o-matic” is a joke. Put all that on the global stage, and the audience often isn’t sharing the humour, it’s lost in translation.


It’s said humour is the shortest distance between two people, and so the lack of it is no laughing matter.