Specsavers, Pot Noodle advertisements grab attention with light, humourous messages

By Lewis Boulton


London, United Kingdom


Fun is back! At least, that’s what Canadian advertising leader Angus Tucker tentatively ventured in a column he recently wrote for Campaign magazine.

While I have a somewhat different opinion than Tucker on “earnest” advertising (what we might call “social purpose”), I did find his comments about fun resonated me. Even if it has been minimal, I’ve found that campaigns putting humour to the side during the pandemic or in light of the cost-of-living crisis are leaning back into being fun, unique, and, most importantly, memorable.

This isn’t to say there weren’t memorably humorous ads from the last few years, nor that issues like living costs and a turbulent economy aren’t still important to readers. They are. But I’ve found that, even in ads carrying serious messaging around value or purpose, the execution is often light and humorous.

What’s more, those advertisers that do lean into humour can take advantage of uplifts in effectiveness across key metrics. According to data from RAM UK, humorous ads see an uplift of 14 percentage points on the industry average for brand recognition, 16 percentage points for engagement, and seven points for action.

Here are just a few recent examples of advertisers using fun with brilliant effects.


If it was going to be any brand leading the “fun” charge, it was always going to be Specsavers. The advertiser is a master of simple but incisive humour across every platform it advertises on, cleverly using the format to maximum effect.

In news brands, Specsavers often makes brilliant use of the space’s contextual power to sneak in a relevant ad for readers. So, when news hit that a Cheshire woman sweetly nursed a hedgehog only to find out it was a pom-pom, the optician placed a cheeky ad underneath with great aplomb.

Pot Noodle

This ad, part of a wider campaign celebrating the “slurp” that comes with eating a Pot Noodle, masterfully uses multiple platforms and the timely nature of news brands to land a brilliantly humorous campaign.

With many listening on TV and radio complaining about the slurp, the snack brand responded using a full-page ad to publicly “apologise” to those affected, offering them a friendlier version of the ad plus a chance to win a share of a £10,000 “compensation pot” through a QR code.

The ad was so popular, it won our ad of the month poll in March!


Mmm-provements to McDonald’s menu classics made front page news in a unique Metro cover wrap in April. Completely lost for words, the copy leaned into the deliciousness with the only sound that could do it justice. If only the wrap could recreate the smell as well as the sounds!


As I said earlier, even campaigns dealing with more serious topics such as living costs are leaning into humour to make an impact.

One example is Waitrose’s excellent creative, which lets gravity do the work of bringing prices down. There might not be any jokes, witty one-liners, or wider campaign accompanying the humour. However, the concept of prices falling on a spoof story placed beneath it offers a level of fun that ads a couple of years ago may have shied away from.


Of course, humour isn’t confined to the printed page, as this vibrant digital wrap from Adobe demonstrates.

Now anyone can recreate a London terrorised by giant flamingos — or whatever else your imagination dreams up!

About Lewis Boulton

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