Oxygen, MediaCom Study: Humor Sells

Women are more likely to remember, and less likely to switch off, commercials that are funny, according to a study commissioned by Oxygen Media and ad agency MediaCom.

Those were among the findings released Tuesday from the inaugural "Women’s Watch" research program, which was conceived by Oxygen and supported by MediaCom and RoperASW.

The first year of the multiyear study -- which involved focus groups in four cities -- took a microscope to women and their taste in humor, as well as what motivates the nation’s female consumers.

"It has enormous practical applications for us as programmers," Oxygen chairman and CEO Gerry Laybourne said of the findings, adding that humor can be a powerful tool for advertisers to reach omen.

"It cements relationships," Laybourne said.

The Women’s Watch study bore out prior research that indicated that humor increases an ad’s effectiveness by attracting and holding audience attention, according to RoperASW.

Nearly nine out of 10 women will tell other people about a funny ad they like, and 88% of women are less likely to change channels during the commercial break if the ad is funny.

The study found that about the same proportion of women, 89%, are more likely to remember a funny commercial than other kinds of commercials. It also found that 93% of women 18-49 agree that "if I find a commercial funny, I usually like watching it again."

In terms of humor and programming content, both young and older women picked humor that reflects on the minute details of everyday life as their favorite topic in TV shows, according to a the study.

The study also broke down women 18-49 into five types in terms of their tastes in comedy: "wholesome traditionalists," who are conservative and like family comedy; "family funsters," who are more liberal and open to humor that pushes the envelope; "quirky characters," who like their humor over the top; "envelope pushers," who like sarcasm; and "smarty pants," who like satire and political and social commentary.