Article by Melissa Dy
Photos compiled by Sienna Hagedorn
It’s campaign season once again here at ISM, and with it comes the customary flood of election posters featuring the names and faces of our charming candidates. And no poster would be complete without the customary pop culture references, clever wordplay, and of course, puns.
Often, there are several candidates vying for the same position, and unless each student knows all the candidates personally, it can be nearly impossible to remember each one. Consequently, campaign posters use humor (especially puns) so often that they have almost become a tradition. “ISSBA elections are a really competitive affair, and puns, when tastefully executed, can really help in giving candidates that edge in terms of memorability and creativity,” says Aparna Mohan, a Junior running for the ISSBA Presidential Pool.
“We all enjoy seeing a pun or a joke,” says Sophomore Gitika Bose. “The lightheartedness catches our attention, because really, who doesn’t like a joke?”
This is not only relevant to us Bearcats, but also to the world in general. According to Millward Brown, a company focused on brands and advertisements, 44% of all ads around the globe are either funny or light-hearted. The company found that people tend to remember advertisements the funnier they are, and they further observed “a strong relationship between humor and impact because humor can drive involvement, which drives memorability”. The type of humor that was most effective was the ever-popular pun. However, puns only impacted the audience if it was strongly associated with the brand. That could explain why name-puns are always a favorite among ISSBA candidates.
When the campaign posters are dominated by humor and jokes, it takes wit and originality to stand out. For example, the posters Sophomore Grace Anugraha best remembers are usually the ones that are “witty and fit within the parameters of bearable corniness”. With a well-placed joke, a candidate can embed themselves into the hearts and minds of the student body. “If you ask me,” says Sophomore Zaineen Karim, “I won’t be able to name all the candidates. The ones I will be able to remember are the ones who were funny”.
The ability to be funny is something to admire and look up to, and candidates want to leave the impression that they are approachable and sociable. However, we must remember that wittiniss is only one of the qualities that must be taken into account when picking a potential ISSBA candidate, as Zaineen states, “funny posters contribute to the voting process, [but] ultimately the final decision really comes down to the speech and the ideas that the candidates represent”.
Source: Does Humor Make Ads More Effective? Rep. Millward Brown, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <http://www.millwardbrown.com/docs/default-source/insight-documents/knowledge-points/MillwardBrown_KnowledgePoint_HumorInAdvertising.pdf?sfvrsn=6>.