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These B2B Ads Are Actually Funny

By Joanna Fragopoulos

Humor is a universal connector. It binds people together through moments of joy and entertainment — and in the case of advertising, it can help educate consumers without them feeling bored or "marketed to." All marketers know that appealing to consumers is a delicate balance of resonant narratives and emotions.

The latest B2 Awards showcase campaigns that take this tack. Below are some award-winning campaigns that used humor to create connection and interest.

American Express

American Express created a series of funny ads to connect with small business owners (SBOs), showcasing its cards for SBOs. A series of humorous videos were created to depict narratives that would resonate with SBOs.

As the ANA case study explained, one of the ads, titled "The Bunny," "featured a small-town veterinarian, Arnold T. Petsworth, whose business is suddenly overwhelmed by an influx of bunny adoptions during quarantine. "The Laptop" featured Cynthia Suarez, whose online grocery delivery gets an unexpected boost from an influencer and who has to hire a new workforce overnight."


Ajinomoto, the leading manufacturer of MSG, created an ad about influencers but without an influencer. It was kind of brilliant. The brand sought to dispel myths about MSG (such as it not being safe to eat, which was disproven by the FDA and WHO). So, how did the brand do it? The brand asked Gwyneth Paltrow to partner with the brand for the campaign due to her influence with the clean eating community; however, she never responded to the request.

The brand, however, continued without her. As the ANA case study described, Ajinomoto "realized the power a simple public dinner invitation could have in igniting a fact-based conversation around MSG, and clean eating altogether. Thus, #DinnerWithGoop was born." The brand instead partnered with comedian Jenny Yang.

Esquire Bank

Esquire Bank launched a campaign that focused on contingency law firm principals and partners in the U.S. by creating a customer-centric technology stack. As the ANA case study explained, the campaign "piggybacked on the insight of lawyers' competitive nature. Lawyers continually look at their competitors' advertising — on billboards, online, on TV, etc. — to see how they need to keep up. Thus, the company developed a campaign in the style of law firm advertising campaigns and taking a catchy, memorable catchphrase in the vein of Better Call Saul — 'Don't Be Sorry, Call Ari.'"

The campaign featured Ari Kornhaber, one of Esquire's founders, using humor to draw in prospects while also not taking itself too seriously.

Check out other B2 awards here.

Joanna Fragopoulos is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.