Humor works like a charm in marketing. Not only because laughter is the best medicine, but also because people like funny brands.
With 306 billion emails sent and received every day, getting your emails noticed is becoming harder. Adding humor to your marketing gives your company personality and, thus, helps you stand out among the competition.
Not all types of humor work for every brand, however. That’s why, in this post, you’ll see how top e-commerce companies incorporate humor into their email marketing at different levels.
If you’re willing to spice up your emails with humor, but missing the right inspiration to do so, take a look at these seven funny email examples sent by our favorite brands.
Whatever your niche or target audience is, there’s something in it for you.
7 Funny Email Examples
1. Huckberry’s Relatable Humor
According to Robert Cialdini’s “liking” principle, we say yes to requests made by people we know and like, more often than those we don’t. What’s more, we like people who are similar to us.
It’s no different for brands. We like companies that can relate to us, and Huckberry’s gentle humor targets exactly that.
Check out this subject line they recently used:
Given the current Corona situation, Huckberry cleverly targets the new normal of our workdays: Zoom meetings.
With an easily relatable subject line that reads “Don’t be that guy on Zoom. You know, the one without pants,” Huckberry makes you open its email without thinking.
In it, the company is promoting shorts from its spring collection:
Huckberry repeatedly touches on the working-from-home theme in their product descriptions as above (“as comfortable as lounge shorts around the house”) and below (“looks great on Zoom”).
If you’re working from home and want to prioritize comfort without wearing work attire, you can easily relate to Huckberry’s humorous email copy.
Huckberry often uses this type of subtle humor in their emails. Check out this email sent with the subject line “You Break It, We Fix It”:
Next, the company adds a fun twist to the remainder of its email by using what looks like a customer testimonial:
Now I don’t know if this is a joke or a real review that inspired the whole email, but it makes a nice addition.
Overall, Huckberry’s humor isn’t one that likely cracks you up. The company rather states the facts you can relate to in a humorous tone.
If you don’t want to be bold or risk offending someone, try taking a safer and more subtle approach to humor, like Huckberry’s, and make your emails a tad more fun.
2. Function of Beauty’s Pop Culture References
If you’re unsure about the type of humor that best fits your brand, think about your buyer personas.
- How do they communicate with each other?
- What do they laugh at?
- Where do they search for fun content?
When you speak the language of your target audience, you can write emails that better appeal to them.
Function of Beauty is an excellent example of that. A while ago, they sent an email with this subject line:
Although there’s nothing inherently funny about this subject line, it makes you wonder what you’re saying goodbye to, and, immediately, prompts you to open the email:
In it, the company uses a screenshot of a funny tweet related to the limited-edition product they’re promoting (i.e., “milsheake.”)
Although it’s a reference to the 2004 hit by Kelis, it’s the kind of humor you see on Twitter today, and Function of Beauty funnily features that in a promotional email.
In another email, sent with the subject line “😘dry winter hair goodbye!” the company maintains the pop culture style:
This time, the company visually recreates the social media feel by what looks like a funny meme shared on Instagram. Even if you don’t have a big design budget, you can easily recreate this type of humor, as Function of Beauty does.
Check out this example where the company simply took a screenshot of an actual tweet they had shared earlier:
If you’re speaking to a younger audience, pop culture references are a great place to start. (Hint: if you need help keeping up with the current meme culture, follow this subreddit.)
3. BarkBox’s Adorable Emails
When it comes to humor, some brands have a clear advantage over others. Companies selling quirky gifts, novelty socks, or babywear, for example, have a lot to work with.
BarkBox is one of those brands. Imagine you can use puppies and cute dogs in your marketing… Well, they can (and they do.)
BarkBox goes for the “aww” effect with its humor in both copy and email design. Take a look at this example:
In this email where BarkBox promotes its 4/20 Day-themed box, the company speaks on behalf of your dog, instead of simply writing “free toys when you sign up.”
That being the case, it becomes hard to say no to your dog’s wishes.
No matter what the month’s theme is or which product they’re promoting, BarkBox makes sure to keep the same humorous tone in their email marketing.
What’s more, BarkBox carries the fun into all its marketing activities. Check out this mystery deal they offer under the name “Scratch ‘n’ save”:
Clicking the call-to-action (CTA) button to reveal the deal takes you to a landing page where you see this:
Although there’s no mystery deal, BarkBox doesn’t let you go away empty-handed. Instead, they add a little fun to this page in their humorous tone. And, of course, if you’re interested in this deal, you can grab it anytime by clicking the CTA.
BarkBox’s humor is unique and adorable. And it’s not just for the sake of being funny. They smartly work fun into their conversion elements and, that way, sell to you by putting a smile on your face.
4. Poo~Pourri’s Funny Wordplay
Speaking of funny brands with product advantage…
Poo~Pourri, the e-tailer combating bad toilet odors, definitely leverages its niche, one that is quite open to jokes.
Poo~Pourri uses almost all the wordplay and associations you can think of around going to the bathroom in its email marketing.
What’s more fascinating is how the company combines this wordplay with different types of emails, be it for the holidays or upcoming sales.
Here’s an example from one of their recent holiday emails:
While promoting its Memorial Day collection, Poo~Pourri cleverly combines the holiday theme and its products with reference to the current Corona situation: “Freedom to go anywhere once you can.”
This is a brilliant example of how Poo~Pourri can easily apply its humor to different situations because the company owns it.
Here’s another smart example of Poo~Pourri’s highly adaptive wordplay:
Even when they promote hand sanitizers, Poo~Pourri can use its signature wordplay, whether it’s for when you need a buttload of hand sanitizer…
… or when they’re back by poopular demand.
Granted, Poo~Pourri’s type of humor can be hard to follow unless you’re in the same niche, but the bottom line is to think of the associations around your brand and have fun playing with the words.
Not ready to go all-in with bold humor? Check out how Poo~Pourri invites subscribers to follow them on Instagram at the bottom of every email they send:
It’s a good place to start if you want to ease your subscribers’ way into funny emails.
5. Chubbies’ Authentic Voice
What makes Chubbies unique, in my opinion, is the authenticity and personality coming through in their voice of tone. Every email they send feels honest and personally written, no matter how promotional they are.
Take a look at this email, for example, where Chubbies runs a clearance sale under the name “Take it off our hands sale”:
In it, Chubbies doesn’t insult its subscribers’ intelligence. Instead, they state the facts as they are: Sometimes they make too many products and people don’t buy them. And that’s why they’re running this sale.
Next, the copy takes a personal turn as it’s written in the first person and, finally, ends with a little appreciation and a discount code.
While showcasing some of the products included in the sale, Chubbies honestly says “Nobody else will have these”:
Chubbies’ authentic tone isn’t only reserved for sales emails. While the company sends out long-form, newsletter-type emails, each section feels personal and genuine.
Check out this example where Chubbies, first, promotes its stretch shorts by using humorous copy and accompanying photography :
Next, they feature two hilarious product reviews:
(Although I can’t confirm, these reviews can easily be genuine because Chubbies has a brand community that is just as funny.)
In the remainder of the email, Chubbies announces that one of their popular products is back in stock, yet, they do this in their authentic, funny tone, too:
Thanks to the repeated use of first-person, you can tell that there’s a person behind these emails, and not just a company trying to be funny.
According to the company’s co-founder, Rainer Castillo, the key is to treat your customers like your friends. It’s worth giving a try next time you’re writing weekly newsletters.
Even if Chubbies’ humor is too goofy for you, you can still learn a lot from their highly personal product marketing.
6. Shinesty’s Topical Emails
Timing is everything in humor, and your emails are no exception.
What often sets authentically funny newsletters apart from automated emails is how timely the former are.
Shinesty, an inherently sarcastic apparel brand, knows this well. Their humor is bold and not suitable for every brand. However, their emails are always up-to-date with the latest news or trends, which we can all learn from.
Take a look at this subject line and sender name Shinesty recently used:
Even before you open the email, you get an idea of what to expect. This is what the email looks like:
In it, Shinesty delivers on its word and explains why “pants are optional” by referring to the Corona situation.
As you scroll down, you find out that it’s an email promoting the company’s face masks, but in their unique style:
Instead of simply displaying the different mask designs, they turn it into a game, and, unsurprisingly, no matter which hilarious answer you choose, they take you to their product pages.
When it comes to humor, Shinesty, indeed, goes the extra mile. Check this email they sent a few months ago with the subject line “you want the tiger king…”:
To leverage the Tiger King hype, Shinesty hilariously rebranded its animal prints line into the popular Netflix mini-series.
And the description below the image is just as funny:
Knowing that this is a fad they have to keep up with, Shinesty even says “We may not financially recover from this” in one of their CTA buttons.
You don’t need to create new products or go as bold to mimic Shinesty’s humor. Simply notice how timely and relevant their emails are and try to capture the essence of the time in your marketing.
7. Quip’s Subtle Humor
Even if you’re not ready to go as far as Shinesty, dad jokes and subtle humor is still an option for you.
Quip, a dental care subscription company, has a great example of that. Since the nature of their niche (personal care) allows, Quip’s emails read like a friend that always makes you smile while giving good advice.
Check this spring subject line they recently used:
While Quip’s pun makes you giggle (and likely open the email,) it’s also highly relevant for its niche.
The newsletter itself consists of different sections, with each of them carrying hints of their subtle humor.
In another email sent with the subject line “Break bad habits, not hearts,” Quip introduces its limited-time Valentine’s Day offer with its typical subtle humor:
Even though an electric toothbrush isn’t traditionally the most romantic Valentine’s gift, as Quip hilariously reminds you, “true love doesn’t have to mean sharing your toothbrush.”
Quip’s subtle, playful, feel-good humor is a great alternative to bold, risky, or quirky humor. And it’s one you can easily model regardless of your industry.
Writing funny emails is tough. But it’s even tougher to find the right inspiration, and that’s what I wanted to help you with today.
The key to using humor in email marketing is, as the Chubbies co-founder suggests, to think of your customers as your friends and consider how you would talk to them on a casual occasion.
Remember to pick timely and relevant topics, and avoid sensitive areas that may offend some people.