Nearly everyone likes humor. We enjoy telling jokes, and we enjoy hearing them. So it comes as no surprise that companies try to spice up their advertising by using humor.

They reason that humor will catch the reader’s eye or listener’s ear, and make them more amenable to the sales message that will soon follow. Unfortunately, more often than not, those attempts at humor backfire.

First, humor is a very personal thing, and what strikes you funny may leave others cold. It’s frighteningly easy to offend people with humor, too. But even if you don’t offend people, you may not amuse them. How often do you hear someone tell a joke and think to yourself, “that isn’t funny”? Even if your humor is hysterical, the delivery has to be perfect. I’ve heard and seen many potentially funny radio and TV spots die at the hands of horrible production.

If you really believe that humor is the right approach, don’t make an attempt that comes off like amateur night at the comedy club. Instead, turn it over to a professional, and let that professional use his or her skills. If they agree that comedy is the right route, they’ll be far better at developing something that’s genuinely funny and less likely to offend – and they’ll be able to produce it in the most effective way.