The present study explored the use of humor in social media ads that featured both a product being advertised and a social media influencer (SMI). Using extant literature and the theory of planned behavior as guides, the goal of the study was to explore the role of perceived humorousness on consumer perceptions of the SMI, the ad, the brand, and consumer purchase intentions. The experiment (N = 292) exposed self-identified males living in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 40 to one of two versions of an ad for a men’s grooming product. The ads were run on Instagram. The ads were pretested to be “humorous” and “non-humorous.” After exposure to the ad, participants responded to a survey about the SMI, the ad, the brand, and purchase intention. Results suggest that humor is king. Participant perceptions of ad humorousness drove their perceptions of the SMI, the ad, the brand, and their intent to purchase the product. In addition, post hoc analysis revealed that heavy social media users held more skeptical views of the ad. Results and their implications are discussed.



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