“Happy Punday, people!” Monday, Punday, geddit? How did it make you feel? Did you utter a low proverbial groan that often follows a particularly bad pun or did you applaud it with a wry grin that even though you knew you it was a bad play on words, it did secretly tickle you?
According to dictionary.reference.com a pun is a humorous (key word, here) use of a word or phrase so as to emphasise or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
Basically, a pun isn’t to show how clever you are as a writer but should only be used to draw more attention to the product or service you’re advertising and ultimately, make your reader remember it.
As freelance copywriter, Alastaire Allday puts it, ‘Sometimes a pun can liven up a dull sentence and keep your client’s message in their customers’ heads for hours, or even days. It can also lose your audience’s respect and ruin your pitch.’
I think they also come down to personal taste. I actually like them but only when they’re used correctly.
For example, this one is for a billboard for Air Asia (low budget airline to the Far East):
It’s funny, on brand and gets the message across in a humorous way and appeals to its audience. However this one:
I don’t like. It’s a just a bad play on words – what’s Mo got to do with it? Going that extra mile? It’s a no Mo from me, I’m afraid.
I think the best way to judge a pun is, if you’d wish you’d come up with it yourself, it’s a good’un but if it makes you shake your head, then it’s a big fat no.
Here are a few more. What do you think?
But where do you draw the line?
Works on packaging too.
Not even the streets are safe.
Seriously though, puns are no laughing matter – well, then again…