Is a bit of ridicule healthy for a brand or does it demean it?

When it’s a fitting characteristic of the brand, the use of humour can be a strong way of resonating with your demographic. Even when it’s not an obvious fit with a brand, if done well, can be a powerful way of getting the message across. The Specsavers campaign is a great example of this. But humour is not always appropriate and when poorly executed could be damaging.
But whilst a company might choose a humorous approach for its brand, it is powerless to stop other people from poking fun at it. For an ad to be parodied, it must be distinct enough in the first place. And it could be argued that it serves to propel a brand further into people’s consciousness. But what if it has the opposite effect and undermines the messaging and brand positioning that the original ad campaign set out to achieve? One of the latest ad campaigns to be pilloried in a string of parodies is the Air BnB ‘Is mankind…’ campaign.

Well, if this is anything to go by, man certainly is not kind! Whilst hilarious, it taps in to the very fears about letting a stranger into your home that the ad campaign is trying so hard to dispel.
The original uses a baby to romanticise the wonder and innocence of mankind, while a wistful but earnest voice-over tries to convince us of the virtue of sharing each other’s homes: ‘Look through their window so you can understand their view…sleep in their beds so that you may know their dreams.’

The stark contrast that the parody presents, is, it could be argued, more in line with what people actually feel about letting a stranger into their home. And if they didn’t think it, after watching the parody there’s a chance they do now. ‘Is man kind? Are we good? No, we are…creepy’.