Course will focus on the correlation between the growth of humor in culture and its use in marketing and advertising in the years between 1950 and today.



According to Beard – “As one of advertising’s most frequently used message tactics (U.S. advertisers alone may spend as much as $60 billion a year hoping they can make their audiences laugh!), humor is an admittedly complicated topic: One viewer may react very differently from another to the exact same ad or an ad may get a laugh but not make a sale.”


Growth of Television and Advertising – From Uncle Miltie to YouTube

Starting with earliest uses of humor in advertising this course will outline the growth and integration of cultural comedic touchstones and their use as initial campaign strategies that overlap to become zeitgeists of their own.


Topics will include the portfolios of agencies and products with such work as:

“Woody Allen” Smirnoff

“That’s a Spicey Meatball” – Alka Seltzer

“Can’t believe I ate the whole thing” – Alka Seltzer

“Where’s the Beef” – Wendy’s

“Speed Talker” – FedEx

“Gotta Make the Donuts” – Dunkin Donuts

“Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Staples Back to School campaign

“I’m on a horse” – Old Spice

“I shipped my pants” – KMart

“I ate the bones?” – KFC

“Liam Neesons-‘Non Stop’ movie promo” – Key & Peele



“Humor in the Advertising Business: Theory, Practice, and Wit”

Beard, Fred K. – Rowman & Littlefield, 2008 – 205 pages


Online content will also be provided as discussion materials


Course Requirements:

5 papers of 5 pages each to conform to WAC standards

(papers, oral reports, exams, etc.).


CONTACT HOURS: 2:00 pm to 3:20pm

Honors level lecture courses 3 credits reflect 2hrs 40 minutes

Patrick Aievoli


Office hours and location

Humanities Hall Room 200




In class lectures, demonstrations and drafts/journal/papers are the primary instructional methods for this class.


EVALUATION (Percentage valued for each assignment and participation)

Final Grades are based on the lab exercises, attendance, and the final Website design:

  1. Drafts = 20% of the Final Grade.
  2. Journal = 20% of the Final Grade.
  3. Five papers of five pages each = 50% of the Final Grade.
  4. Participation/Attendance= 10% of Final Grade



A 4.00                             C+       2.33

A- 3.67                             C         2.00

B+             3.33                             C-        1.67

B   3.00                             D         1.00

B- 2.67                             F          0.00


Late projects will either not be accepted or will result in a lowered grade. In addition, there will be tutorial assignments worked on in class and a high probability of surprise quizzes. Finally, all students should maintain notes on class lectures, demonstrations and instruction.  Class attendance is essential.



Papers will consist of research and evaluation on five distinct areas of advertising and the successful/failed use of humor (or satire) in those advertisements.


  • Soft Goods
  • Hard Goods
  • Abstract Services
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Self Promotion



At the conclusion of this course students will be able to create and execute a series of 15 to 30 second humorous commercials.