Copywriting Tip – Sarcasm Probably Won’t Work

Establishing a “voice” for your brand is increasingly important to establish presence in a crowded marketplace. Social media has raised the value of being “real”, of allowing the personality of your team come through in your brand messaging.


Picture of a lady pulling a face demonstrating non-sarcastic humour in copywriting

Not particularly funny, but definitely not offensive. Unless the reader happens to think the picture is mocking them…

But in the same way your employees may have viewpoints which do not align with your company’s, so too may their sense of humour. The UK has a long tradition of sarcastic humour (since at least 1579 according to Wikipedia), but it is also one of the hardest concepts to convey in writing.


At best your readers may assume sarcastic copy is slightly odd. But there is also a danger that sarcasm is mistaken for a statement of fact, or you inadvertently offend someone who has missed the joke. Should this happen your brand may find itself on the wrong end of some negative PR which could fatally damage your company reputation.


Obviously you can blatantly tag attempts at sarcastic humour, but this tends to ruin any potential for comedic effect and makes your business look like it is trying too hard to be funny. Which is inauthentic and unpersuasive.


Is it ever possible to get away with sarcasm? If you are a personal brand already known for sarcastic humour, your website visitors probably expect as much from your copywriting efforts. It may even help foster a connection which keeps drawing people back for more.


But for larger businesses, an alternative, more universal and transparent form of humour is preferable. That’s not to say humour in your copywriting is not welcome, but that sarcasm is the riskiest form and should (in most cases) be avoided.


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