First Advisor

Brandon Reich

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Business Administration: Advertising Management and University Honors






meta-parody advertising, brand credibility, humorous advertising, two-sided messaging, persuasion knowledge




In recent years, advertisers have been turning to a new form of humorous advertising to reach wary consumers. This study refers to this new form of advertising appeal as 'meta-parody' advertising, defined as humorous advertisements that parody advertising tropes for the sake of building credibility with the consumer. These ads are aimed at overcoming persuasion knowledge, which is what consumers use to cope with attempts to influence them. Despite the prevalence of meta-parody in contemporary advertising, there is no existing research on meta-parody ads, let alone their relationship with brand credibility. Previous research into humorous advertising has produced mixed views on whether humor helps or harms brand credibility. However, meta-parody ads could benefit from the improved brand credibility that arises with two-sided messaging and the ‘truth dimension’ consumers perceive in ad parodies. This study used quantitative data collected from online survey participants, who were randomly assigned to the control (non-parody humorous fake ad) or the treatment condition (meta-parody humorous fake ad). Participants rated the ad’s funniness and brand credibility, which were then analyzed using ANOVA techniques. Results showed a statistically significant difference in brand credibility between the two ads, with participants perceiving the meta-parody ad (vs. control) as more credible. Funniness was ruled out as a confounding variable, as there was no statistically significant difference in humor ratings between conditions. These findings indicate that meta-parody is related to higher brand credibility; although it justifies advertisers’ use of meta-parody appeals, further research is needed to understand this relationship.

Persistent Identifier