Should Explainer Videos be Funny?

Three questions to ask before making a funny explainer video.

We know Super Bowl commercials are funny, but what about explainers? After all, the purpose of the explainer is to explain. Even if they manage to get a few chuckles, they really have no purpose in life if they fail to achieve the appropriate level of clarity. That’s in contrast to a broadcast commercial, like during the Super Bowl, when they’re mostly B2C brands and half the time it’s not important, and not necessary, to explain anything. They make people laugh in the hopes that audiences will be sober enough to also remember the brand.

Explainers can be funny, but should they be? After all, they are often for B2B brands appealing to business managers and executives who care more about the bottom line and quality than someone who can make them laugh.

Similarly, for B2Cs, a customer will watch an explainer if they have a question about the brand or product. They’re looking for info and not clicking play to be entertained. Humor sometimes detracts from the message. During editing, our team here at Picturelab often find ourselves deleting precious jokes from the video because they simply don’t add much to the brand’s story, and in fact, distracts away from it.

So, should explainers employ humor?

Would Funny Marketing Videos Work?

To help you answer the question with questions, here are three to consider:

1) What is your brand’s character?

If fun and humor is part of who you are as a company, then it definitely makes sense to pursue an explainer that is playful. But even then, it needs to appeal to your audience and reflects well on the product or service.

Also, a brand evolves over time. An early stage startup may choose to be completely off-the-wall hilarious in an attempt to be noticed. But as that baby matures (and starts to draw in serious cash), it will often look to be taken more seriously.

So, consider that even though humor worked three years ago, it may not be the right approach now.

2) What is the purpose of your video?

People sometimes ask for a funny explainer, but sometimes they’re really looking for a brand video or teaser. Yes, an explainer can and should create brand awareness, but usually, by the time a person sits down and watches the full 60 to 90 second explainer, the viewer already has some idea of what the brand is.

If you’re looking for something more up-funnel, then a teaser or commercial is preferable to an explainer. And this could be short and funny as heck. The purpose here is to draw people’s attention and lead them to your site, where an explainer video will hopefully be waiting for them to nurture them further down the funnel.

So before concluding you need a hilarious explainer, think about the true purpose of the video.

3) Will you be able to do it right?

Humor is hard to do. If you’re not natural at it, or you don’t have the budget to hire an experienced creative agency or video production company, then our recommendation is to stay away from humor.

The keys to humor in an explainer video are timing and balance. If you don’t have the right doses, then you’ll distract and muddy the message. Best case is that people will laugh but won’t really have clarity on what you do. Worst case is people will get confused and they’ll stop watching your video.

It’s great to get people to laugh, and ideally, they’ll be entertained and educated at the same time. But it takes skill to craft a well-balanced video.

Our Gong overview is a good example of a balanced explainer. Clients often tell us how funny this video is. But actually, the video really only has one joke and one call back. It’s for the most part a straight explainer. It’s the balance that makes this work well.

We love funny videos here at Picturelab. But too often, we see explainers weakened by it. Humor in explainers can be an asset that gets people to remember your brand and set you apart from the crowd. But it needs to be who you are, serve the right purpose, and executed correctly.

Should Explainer Videos be Funny? Balancing Humor and Message

Explainer videos have become a popular tool for businesses and organizations to convey complex ideas in a simple, engaging manner. One question that often arises in the creation of these videos is whether they should be funny. The answer isn’t a simple yes or no; it depends on various factors.

The Power of Humor:

Humor can be a fantastic way to grab and hold your audience’s attention. A well-placed joke or a humorous character can make the content memorable and shareable. It can also create a positive, approachable image for your brand. When done right, humor in explainer videos can turn a potentially dry topic into an entertaining and enlightening experience.

When Humor Works:

  1. Complex Topics: If you’re dealing with a complex, dry, or technical subject, humor can simplify the content and make it more accessible.
  2. Engaging Younger Audiences: If your target audience includes younger viewers who appreciate wit and levity, humor can be a great way to connect with them.
  3. Brand Personality: If humor aligns with your brand’s personality, using it in explainer videos can reinforce your identity and make your content consistent with your overall marketing strategy.
  4. Viral Potential: Funny explainer videos have a higher chance of going viral, which can significantly boost your reach.

When Humor May Not Be Suitable:

  1. Serious Topics: For topics that are sensitive, serious, or potentially offensive, humor may be inappropriate and even detrimental.
  2. Professionalism: If your brand or message needs to maintain a high level of professionalism, humor can dilute the seriousness of your content.
  3. Audience Mismatch: If your humor doesn’t resonate with your target audience, it can alienate rather than engage.

Balancing Act:

The key to using humor in explainer videos is balance. The humor should complement the message, not overshadow it. It should enhance understanding, not detract from the facts. Ensuring that the humor aligns with your core message is crucial.

Testing and Feedback:

Before finalizing your explainer video, it’s advisable to test it with a diverse group of individuals who represent your target audience. Their feedback can help you gauge whether the humor is effective and well-received.

Final Thoughts:

So, should explainer videos be funny? It depends on your message, your audience, and your brand identity. When humor is carefully considered and thoughtfully executed, it can be a powerful tool for engaging and educating your audience. But it’s essential to remember that the primary purpose of an explainer video is to convey information effectively, and humor should support that goal rather than detract from it.

Picturelab is based in the San Francisco Bay Area with clients all over the world. To learn how we can help with your explainer videos, contact us at


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