3.6   Controversial humor in advertising

Social and cultural implications

Margherita Dore


As Nash observes, “[v]irtually any well known forms of words—from the language of politics, of advertising, or journalism, of law and social administration—will serve the requirements of wit”1 (my emphasis). As a matter of fact, witticisms, puns, jokes, satire, parody, etc. are examples of the different forms and guises in which humor can come. Be it scripted (e.g., jokes) or naturally occurring, humor can be used to enhance or challenge interpersonal and social relations.2 It is therefore not surprising that it has been often used in advertising to seek the involvement of the audience while promoting products, services and, consequently, ...

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