Publication Date

April 2023


Audio podcasts have grown in popularity. Forty-six million Americans tune into an average of six podcasts each week (Nielson, 2020) and ad revenues are projected to top $4 billion by 2024 (IAB, 2022). To enhance the appeal of ads, many podcasters use humor in their ad reads. Although humor can be effective (Weinberger & Gulas, 1992) and reinforce the parasocial relationship between podcaster and audience, are there times when that humor has negative consequences? In this study, we are concerned primarily with the use of insult advertising in which the podcaster uses humor that targes the brand/product being endorsed. Participants were exposed to one of two versions of a podcast host-read ad and then responded to a survey about their impressions of the ad, the podcaster, and the endorsed brand. The data reveal that insult ads have deleterious effects on perceptions of both the endorsed brand and the podcaster. Results are discussed.


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