Your email subscribers’ inboxes are packed with promotions, news, information and requests. This is the environment in which your message needs to stand out, be memorable and elicit an action. How? Try sending your subscribers value-adding content that also makes them smile. Check out these examples of smile-inducing witty, wry, fun and funny emails in this article for inspiration.
Laugher, smiling, “getting” the joke–all these activities make us feel good.
Email marketing campaigns that create these feel-good moments to create stronger bonds with your subscribers and puts them in a receptive frame of mind.
Funny email messages help to humanize your brand, endear you to your audience, and make your messages more memorable.
Plus, your email recipients are more likely to linger over an email that entertains them or makes them smile, and they’ll be more inclined to open the next one you send.
These and other benefits are why businesses use funny emails to reach their audiences and why you should look for ways to add humor to your messages, too.
Of course, not every brand’s personality is suited for comedy.
But most brands can find ways to incorporate content that makes their subscribers smile into some of their messages. And, some brands have built an entire personality around being outrageous, irreverent or laugh-out-loud funny.
Not sure what funny emails look like or how your brand can use humor to engage your audience?
We have just what you need to figure it out.
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How and where to add humor to make your emails funny
What is funny? Ask 100 people and you’ll get 100 different answers. Making matters more complicated, one person’s “hilarious” is another person’s “bad taste.”
Making funny emails isn’t always as easy as finding a good joke or a comical meme. As we discovered when writing, 50 Funny Email Subject Lines That Demonstrate How to Use Humor to Earn Opens, the types of humor that are appropriate for your brand and when to use humor will vary.
Your business’s funny emails should be
- Compatible with your brand’s image and personality.
- Relatable, understandable and amusing to your target audiences.
- Non-offensive and not insulting in ways that will damage your reputation or result in subscriber churn.
You can add humor to your emails by using a funny subject line or preview text to grab attention in the inbox, adding a joke or amusing animated GIF at the top of your email as a treat before you continue with a more serious message, creating an entire message made to get laughs or combing different comedic elements including funny pictures and amusing text to entertain your subscribers.
Finding what’s funny to your subscribers may take some testing, though.
A report by international market research firm, Ipsos, reveals that 81% of consumers like it when brands use humor, but only 28% believe brands are getting funny right.
Consumers crave the emotional connectivity that a shared sense of humor can bring. It’s up to you to uncover what that sense of humor is.
Start your path to amusing subscribers by looking at your subscribers’ demographic and psychographic data and the buyer’s personas your organization has developed for different audience segments.
Then examine industry reports like Ipsos’ Laughter is the Best Medicine and Oracle’s The Happiness Report, that reveal how different groups perceive humor to find the right kinds of humor to use in your email marketing campaigns.
Next, use your subject lines as a testing ground. A/B test different types of humor and wordplay in this field of first impression to see what resonates with different audience segments. Use this data to begin building your brand’s comedic voice.
Inside your email’s body, test graphic-based humor such as animated GIFs versus more subtle wordplay or light puns. An email can generate a smile without being funny in every line. Sometimes all you need to add a little levity to your email is a funny greeting or sign-off.
Remember, too, that including image-dependent humor may limit your audience to only those subscribers who download and view your email’s graphics.
Want to see how other email marketers are managing to make subscribers smile?
Check out the examples of amusing emails I’ve uncovered just for you.
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17 Examples of funny emails to make your subscribers smile
Not everyone’s idea of funny is the same. The following selection includes fresh examples of emails employing a mix of comedic devices and methods of delivery. Use them as a starting point to begin brainstorming your next funny email campaign and win your subscribers’ loyalty by making them smile.
Funny welcome and onboarding emails infused with (brand) personality
Your first few emails to a new subscriber are an opportunity to share your brand’s values and personality. If funny is part of your business’s persona, let it shine in these introductory email messages so your new subscribers know what to expect (and look forward to) in their inboxes.
📧 BuzzFeed Shopping sets the tone from the start with a double opt-in message that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
📨 Confirm Your Shopping Newsletter Subscription!
Just because a message is transactional doesn’t mean it has to be stiff and boring. It’s okay to let your brand personality shine as long as your wit doesn’t get in the way of your message’s purpose.
BuzzFeed Shopping balances work and play in this subscription confirmation email by using a direct, purpose-focused subject line and saving the fun for the message’s body.
As with most confirmation or welcome emails, this message begins with a thank you.
Then, the message gets straight to the point, explaining that the recipient needs to confirm that they are “a real person who wants emails from us!”
This text isn’t high comedy, but it does set a tone which is continued with a graphic link, CTA button that says,
“Yes, I’m a real person!”
With the business of the email is out of the way, the copy enters the fun zone, continuing,
“If you’re an evil robot set out to destroy humanity, sorry but we can’t send you our newsletter.”
💡 Never lose sight of your ultimate goal when crafting your email’s copy. When sending confirmation or other transactional messages, it is important that your inbox copy expresses why it is important for subscribers to open and respond to your message and your subscribers can understand the action you want them to take.
📧 Everist introduces the team with wit in its onboarding email.
📨 Hi 👋 – Get To Know the Team Behind Everist 💙
Cosmetics brand Everist introduces new subscribers to the faces behind the brand in a welcome email that offers a little personal information about each person.
The content is human and genuine, infusing humor with a “Most likely to section,” that includes entries such as, “most likely to have 100 tabs open at once” and “most likely to be sharing the wrong screen in a meeting.”
Sharing the team’s quirks with these fun one-liners makes them and the brand relatable to their audience.
The Email Marketing Activity Book for Kids
Funny nurture emails to keep the conversations with customers going
Comedy is a useful device for breaking the tension when you need to introduce serious or embarrassing topics. That’s why insurance, personal health and brands selling adult merchandise often use comic relief to lighten the mood in their ads.
📧 BuzzFeed stays true to form with funny follow-up emails meant to convert subscribers into shoppers.
📨 Is your shopping cart empty? – Well, we’re here to fix that!
BuzzFeed Shopping’s overarching brand message is one of fun and their content balances irreverence and tongue-in-cheek snark to appeal to the brand’s target audience.
From the opening banner that promotes a game called “under the Influence” to a CTA button captioned, “Fill up that cart!,” this email’s copy expresses a lighthearted tone.
Presenting an eclectic mix of products, this email nudges subscribers to make a purchase with text saying,
“Is your shopping cart empty? Gasp! That simply can’t stand, and we’re here to help! Check out these inexpensive things that’ll help fill it up. Because who can turn down a snail-shaped soap dispenser?!”
This copy entertains while cleverly directing the readers’ attention to the product images above it (which include that snail-shaped soap dispenser.)
Another section in the email jokes about construction-free, “home improvement” products that will “improve your space instantly–no contractors required.”
📧 An animated personality delivers laughs for a personality-driven brand.
📨 BRAND NEW AUDREY Collection – You have first access to purchase the new collection
Artist Ashley Longshore puts herself at center stage when introducing her latest collection in a vibrant email featuring the artist performing a tap dance. Only a subscriber with a heart of stone could resist breaking into smiles when viewing Ashley’s enthusiasm in this email’s animated opening greeting.
Other images and animated GIFs sprinkled throughout the message maintain the momentum and the fun in this email bearing the sign-off, “With so much love, Xoxoxox, Ashley Longshore.”
📧 Wit, a GIF and lilting language add interest to this product promotion email from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild.
📨 Purchase ANY TWO HAIR PIN SETS and Receive a THIRD for FREE – Now through Sunday March 26.
Accessory seller The Unemployed Philosophers Guild uses incongruity and funny pictures to elicit laughs in a product promotion email that also includes plenty of amusing prose.
Below the opening line, which reads “Greeting from high atop the Ivory Tower at The Unemployed Philosophers Guild!,” the first amusing image in the message is an animated GIF illustrating a serious philosopher with flyaway bangs. The second, a static picture, adds hair pins to the same visage.
The next section of copy is an exercise in fun with words, delivering a healthy dose of alliteration and an alluring rhythm.
“Are your cascading tresses, curls and locks growing unruly? Can you even read this message for the flurry of filaments blocking your eyes?”
The email ends with a funny sign-off that introduces the offers’ terms and conditions,
“Get a Load of This *Hey, here’s the small print. Sure is little ….”
Using a conversational tone when providing required content such as contact information, terms and an unsubscribe link can make your emails more engaging for your audience all the way to the end.
Making merry with funny holiday email campaigns
When reviewing my swipe stash of funny emails, I noticed that some brands use humor only in their subject lines, others present humor throughout their copy, and still others save their funny emails for specific campaigns–particularly special occasions.
How do businesses use humor to lighten holiday spirits?
Check out these examples of brands adding puns, wordplay and other comedic touches in their holiday email campaigns.
📧 Detour Coffee announces a big sale with Christmas-themed puns.
📨 BIG coffee sale loading… 🔜 – Something BIG is coming!! Save the date 😉 📅
The potential revenue gained from a successful holiday email marketing campaign makes going a little extra well worth the effort. Detour Coffee opens this email with an animated GIF that changes the usual loading bar to a series of “loading” coffee beans. That’s the first amusement in this message.
The casual language, “Consider yourself warned and ready;” repetition “A big coffee sale is loading… a big sale is coming;” and touches of hyperbole “our biggest coffee sale of the year;” in the email’s copy adds to the levity.
What about those puns I mentioned?
The next paragraph of the message draws from Christmas songs and lore, alluding to the holiday being the most wonderful time of the year and referencing St. Nick.
“Meanwhile, here at the roastery, it’s the most wonderful “coffee” time of the year and we’re busy loading up the digital shelves with some of the best coffees, just in the nick of time!”
Finally, the CTA button keeps the theme going asking subscribers to, “make their list?” in preparation for the big sale.
📧 Using seasonal word-play to soften an urgency message.
📨 Open to avoid a Christmas catastrophe! 🚨😱 – It’s the LAST DAY to order for arrival by December 23rd ⏰
As the close of the 2022 holiday shopping season drew near, Detour Coffee continued to employ humor to connect with customers. This last chance email is serious–recipients need to order by the cutoff date or their gift purchases won’t arrive in time for Christmas.
But the brand lightens the tone with hyperbole and alliteration in the subject line (a Christmas catastrophe!) and themed wordplay in the email’s body.
Like BuzzFeed’s transactional message, Detour Coffee makes sure subscribers get the important part of the message by adding preview text that states what the message is about along with key facts, including the order cut off date. This is also the message’s preheader copy, making its appearance in the preview line automatic.
The holiday-themed play on words in this email,
“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout; I’m telling you why… it’s the last day to order coffee in time for Christmas,”
is drawn from a Christmas song.
Songs, poems, and other familiar media are great sources for your comedic inspiration.
Look for content that conveys a shared understanding with your subscribers to build stronger emotional connections.
📧 The puns have it in this subtly funny 2023 Easter-themed email.
📨 LAST DAY! 🏆 Earn 2x Points on Easter Candy and Gifts – Rewards members get double points on Easter.
Sugarfina’s primary objective for this last chance promotional email was to alert customers to a double-rewards points sale and get them to act fast. So the brand didn’t go for humor in the inbox copy, instead focusing on urgency and benefits.
Inside the email, the copy offers up pleasing pictures and a friendly tone of voice made more fun by the use of Easter-themed puns like the ones we shared in our 2023 guide to Easter emails.
In this email example, subscribers are invited to sign up for the brand’s rewards program and shop in its Easter store to find items “guaranteed to bring smiles to all the peeps,” and the header for a panel showing off bundle packages says, “So hoppy together.”
📧 Kidrobot creates catchy copy to engage in some Easter fun.
📨 EGG-cellent Easter gifts 🥚 – Show somebunny you care with art toys.
Novelty and collectables seller Kidrobot drops subtly in its Easter-themed appeal and instead adds its distinctive brand personality to the content of this email suggesting alternatives to traditional Easter candy.
Under the header that repeats the subject line’s, “EGG-cellent Easter gifts” pun, the subheader for this message says,
“Show the Easter bunny who’s boss! Stuff their basket with pure Kidrobot excellence.”
Later, above an animated GIF featuring the brand’s Munny toy, the copy takes a sardonic tone, saying
“Eggs are expensive. Decorate a Munny instead.”
(They aren’t wrong. 🤔🥚💸)
Letting the brand’s personality shine enables Kidrobot to maintain its credibility with its audience while still capturing some of the sweet Easter gift revenue.
📧 A tech hardware company adds levity to its spring campaign with a St. Patrick’s Day-themed promotion.
📨 Feeling lucky? – A new SSD is the lucky charm your system needs!
Humor and holiday puns to sell hardware? It can happen.
Micron Technologies’ Crucial brand invites smiles and click-throughs in its 2023 St. Patrick’s Day promotional email.
By the way, this email doesn’t actually mention St. Patrick or the day, instead it relies on related themes and a hero graphic that includes images of a leprechaun hat, horseshoe and a pot of gold, to tell subscribers what it’s talking about.
Here’s how Crucial works themes of luck and green into its copy:
“It’s your lucky day! Save big on Crucial SSDs. A new SSD is the lucky charm your system needs! Make other systems green with envy…”
Many businesses employ humor to appeal to their audiences during the emotion-laden Valentine’s Day shopping season. Our article about Valentine’s Day email marketing features funny Valentine (and anti-Valentine) examples from AeroGrow, Craft Beer Club, Snowfeet, Drizly, and Capitan.
Behind the boss’s back email messages delight by breaking taboos
Okay, I’m not talking about ‘make you gasp in shock’ boundary breaking here. But emails that poke fun at the boss or replace them and their stinkin’ rules are funny.
The humor in these email messages comes from a combination of comedic devices that include mistaken identity (swapping personalities), taboos, and plays on stereotypes, “The boss would never let us do this but…”
📧 BarkBox mascot, Scout conspires with subscribers to get them a special deal during the holiday shopping season.
📨 THE CEO KNOWS…LAST CHANCE TO SCORE $100 BARKSHOP CREDIT
This email is the second in a series promoting pet subscription box brand BarkBox’s holiday sale. The first email sets the storyline, a typo has resulted in a $10 off offer becoming a $100 off one!
But the good times can’t last, once the CEO discovers this mistake, the deal’s off.
Scout sent this alert to subscribers to let them know that time is running out. (In the image above, the dynamic banner at the top of the email indicates the promotion’s current status: “over.”)
This email injects humor through anthropomorphism–giving Scout a personality and the ability to type (or dictate? bark?) email messages. Graphics and copy work together to deliver this skit.
In the hero image, Scout is quoted as saying “Do it now hooman!!!”
The email is extra engaging because it continues the previous storyline and makes effective use of the taboo device in the subject line. Inside, the message maintains the theme, explaining,
“We were actually planning on $10, but since no one caught the typo until it was too late, we figure it was meant to be.”
To be honest, I think BarkBox has it easy when trying to make subscribers smile. Who can resist a cute doggy?
📧 B2B and business consultants can leverage the ‘poke fun at the boss’ device, too.
📨 Did you read this?
Direct response copywriting consultant Drayton Bird Associates wanted answers, answers to a subscriber survey, that is. This automated follow-up email to nonresponders uses themes of ‘every person’ vulnerability and a light dig at the boss to garner smiles and engagement.
Gerald, one of Drayton’s assistant, writes,
“Drayton’s got a bad cold and is an even bigger curmudgeon than usual. So I could really do with more replies to the email I sent you on Tuesday. Did you see it?…”
The email then repeats the copy from the initial message, which employs self-deprecation and digs at the boss to endear the sender and their message to readers.
“…I have an embarrassing confession… I often suggest you survey your customers… But – as Drayton grumpily pointed out earlier – I haven’t done this myself in ages. So please help get him off my back – just fill out this short survey.”
I don’t know about you, but I think Drayton needs to get some sunshine.
💡 As one might expect from a copywriting master, this email message is filled with other persuasive devices that are worth your time to study. Examining the emails you receive to identify why their creators made the choices they made is a great way to level up your content game!
Curated and editorial newsletters get in on the fun delivering humor along with information
As new generations of digital-first individuals enter the workforce, the lines between business and consumer purchasing behaviors continue to blur. More and more, businesses are realizing that sharing information doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, making the news, or at least parts of your email newsletter funny is not only okay, but a great way to build your subscriber list.
The Morning Brew newsletter is a leading example of how a little levity can add up to significant growth for business publishers. But it’s not the only one. Take a look.
📧 Never short on content, Morning Brew uses a mix of devices–comedic and otherwise–to keep subscribers engaged.
📨 ☕️ Irrational – ChatGPT can get your groceries now…
This brand built on content and copywriting delivers news and editorial content to its readers six days a week, opening each newsletter with a funny story or witty greeting. In this edition, the theme is The Lord of the Rings.
In this example, Morning Brew greets subscribers with a casual tone, introducing a story that resonates with the newsletters’ subscriber list and includes a bit of cultural trivia.
“Good morning. On this day in, well, we honestly have no clue what year, the One Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom, leading to March 25 to be celebrated around the world as Tolkien Reading Day.
Let the anniversary of the One Ring’s destruction inspire you to use today to try and let go of anything that may be weighing you down, or consuming your thoughts, or letting you understand the speech of evil creatures, or extending your life indefinitely, or allowing you to manipulate the wills of other beings, or transporting you into the wraith-realm.”
Morning Brew adds touches of this witty writing style throughout the newsletter while also making room for serious news and commentary. The authors aren’t afraid of a little dark humor, either.
For example, in the introduction to a short section about Deutsche Bank, the newsletters’ authors write,
“Is it even a Friday in March 2023 if a bank’s stock isn’t tanking over concerns of a default?”
This section is where the newsletter wraps back around to that curiosity inducing subject line, with the closer,
“Bottom line: Analysts are suing “irrational” to describe the market post-SVB collapse, but maybe the better word is “hangry.” Make one wrong move, however small, and it’ll snap at you.”
📧 DTC crowdsources funny content to open each of its email newsletters.
📨 📦 – Lunch at Chili’s – DTC 310 – Is Amazon a revenue avenue for your business?
DTC newsletters’ editors are never at a loss for words, packing each email with ecommerce news, educational and editorial content.
To get things off to a good start, each email opens with a Banter section that often draws its inspiration from the internet–social media to be exact.
In the example above, the funny opening builds on a screen grab featuring a Twitter post by Michael Girdley who Tweeted,
“At 38, I was an entrepreneur eating at Chili’s once a month. At 48, I’m still an entrepreneur eating at Chili’s three times a week. Lesson: Never stop working towards your dreams.”
DTC captions the image with, “If this isn’t living the dream, I don’t know what is. 🌶”
Emojis aren’t off limits for B2B brands, either. Use these tiny to add color and context to your copy without adding significantly to your email file sizes. Besides, people like them.
⚠️ If your email’s funniest bits are delivered as graphics like the Tweet in DTC’s newsletter, add alt-text so all of your subscribers can get in on the joke.
Brands employing a distinctive take on funny emails to appeal to their unique audiences
Comedians have long known that edgy, irreverent, and even shocking humor may not appeal to everyone but still draw an audience. Similarly, brands use humor that is dark, edgy or borders on NSFW to connect with their specific buyer personas.
I can’t share all the examples of all the funny emails I’ve encountered in my search, because, well, think of the children!
But here are some brands that aren’t afraid to go there with their funny emails to appeal to their subscribers.
📧 Birddog uses comics and comedy to tell a story in every email.
📨 Times We Were TOO Formal – When ‘dress to impress’ goes wrong (Source)
Promoting its comfort-first men’s pants, Birddog features the zany antics of its team in illustrated emails that humanize the brand (sometimes a little too human) and eventually lead readers to contemplate the benefits of comfy pants.
This email about the team’s adventures wearing professional clothing puts them on a plane, preparing to visit the Cheesecake Factory and even trying on a power dress.
Commentary such as,
“After watching an entire season of Downton Abbey, Jack decided to wear an ascot to work. It created such a commotion he was sent home to change,”
caption the message’s vertical comic strip.
The conclusion of the email and its pitch?
“Don’t make the same mistakes we did! Our joggers are great for looking good while being laid back.”
This final pitch is followed by an eye-catching animated GIF that features the comfort wear in two colors and a graphic link CTA button that reads, “jog it out into spring.”
📧 Aurate attracts subscribers’ attention with a bold subject line and flirty phrases.
📨 ALMOST NAKED – Omg it’s finally Spring
Not as daring as it seems at first glance, this promotional newsletter from jewelry brand Aurate New York features jewelry selections for warm weather and the extra bare skin that comes with the season.
Aurate’s email targets confident women who want to wear attractive, sustainable jewelry using witty captions under a selection of product images that altogether read,
“Pairs well with batting lashes & (light) reading & kicking it back on the stoop.”
💡 Innuendos or double entendres are a special kind of comedic device that hints at taboo topics to capture attention and raise eyebrows. It works best for brands who have a firm understanding of their audience’s sensibilities.
📧 Chubbies stays in character across every email, including this discount reminder.
📨 You 15% Off Code Is Inside – Open now for 15% off your next purchase.
Chubbies, ah, Chubbies. This man brand makes a statement in every email. Like some of the other examples I’ve shared, this message defers its humor until after the inbox display. The subject line and preview text of this message stick to the facts and aim at driving conversions.
Inside the brand presents its personality with color people-wearing-products images and clever copy. This specific message is a follow-up welcome + discount email sent to new subscribers that engage with readers, adds a human voice to the brand and tells a story–all in just a few lines. The email says,
“You didn’t lose the code, did ya? It’s okay if you did, we prepared for that. We lose stuff all the time. I lost my keys 4 years ago and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to find them at this point. But there’s always hope, am I right?”
Chubbies’ email is another example of extending the fun through the message’s small print. Its footer copy begins with a label saying,
“Important legal mumbo jumbo…”
And the unsubscribe link for this email is preceded by copy that says,
“Never wanna hear from us again? Dang, that’s harsh, but if you must you can unsubscribe here.”
That’s so Chubbies!
Always leave them laughing with funny emails that aim to please
Is there room for humor in your email campaigns?
Brands that make a habit of including a cute or funny story, opening their messages with a funny picture or animated GIF or closing each message with a witty quote or commentary create positive experiences that encourage their subscribers to make a habit of opening their emails.
And that’s a good thing!
🛸 Funny isn’t the only way to attract and keep customers, discover other ways to use email to grow your business in our mega-guide, Attraction Marketing: How Brands Draw Consumers to Them With Irresistible Engagement Tactics.