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Childbirth and Humour

Albert Einstein attributed his brilliant mind to having a child-like sense of humour. According to a report published on ‘The Conversation’ website, a number of studies have indeed revealed compelling evidence that having a good sense of humour is linked to high emotional intelligence and social competence.

More negative humour styles however, such as sarcasm and dark humour are unlikely to offer the same benefits. Instead, they often tend to alienate people and create impressions of low intellect.

Engaging or Enraging?

The odd emergence from time to time of humorous commercials about childbirth, lend much credence to the above observations. What some people consider entertaining as satire or dark humour, others regard as being a highly objectionable degradation of human dignity.

The famous Xbox ‘Champagne’ commercial of 2002 is a case in point.

The commercial went viral a month before being screened on television.

It was banned shortly thereafter by the UK Independent Television Commission after many viewers complained that the commercial was ‘offensive, shocking and in bad taste.

The extraordinary and lasting aspect of this commercial however, is that it is being viewed weekly on YouTube.

1. Xbox, Champagne

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London

The commercial directed by Daniel Kleinman, despite its UK television ban, went on to receive multiple awards which included a Cannes International Advertising Festival Gold Lion for Entertainment & Leisure, and an Art Directors Club of Europe overall Grand Prix and Gold award for Cinema Commercials.

2. HorseBox Brewery New Zealand, Black Stallion Milk Stout

Advertising School: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Directed by Lars Timmerman, this commercial was conceived by film students in their final year at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Germany.

The students’ seemingly appropriate use of dark humour for a dark beer will undoubtedly not be to everyone’s liking. But for a niche-market, craft brewery, an outlandish approach that will likely generate controversy, is probably exactly what is needed to gain brand recognition if not a measure of attention-getting notoriety.

3. Doritos, Baby Ultrascan

Advertising Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Directed by Peter Carstairs, the commercial was aired during the American Super Bowl. The tongue-in-cheek humour was loved by thousands of viewers, but was lost on many who were decidedly not amused.

Scores of viewers expressed their outrage on Twitter and vowed to never purchase a Doritos product ever again.

Despite its controversial humour, or maybe because of it, the commercial nevertheless generated a staggering 60 million online views globally.

4. Cash Converters, The Childbirth

Advertising Agency: Serviceplan, France

Directed by Daniel Perez, this surreal scenario is part of a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ campaign titled “The Smooth Talkers”. The commercials are about people inventing absurd stories in attempts at selling their possessions at the best prices.

The ‘Childbirth’ idea was sparked by research that revealed food mixers to be one of the most frequently traded items by women at Cash Converters.

It is too soon to know how viewers are reacting to the commercial but it most likely will create some social media controversy.