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Kohler – Funeral (2020)

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In this short but very sweet story of a father and son saying the final farewell to a pet (presumably a fish…), Kohler sells us a toilet that can flush away anything you can throw at it — or can it?


This isn’t hilarious, but it is cute and it raises a smile. In fact, the pot plant gag got a laugh from us (we love the foley sound effect as it hits the pan).

Why does this little sketch work in a technical sense? Because it follows two of the key ‘rules of comedy’ we’re always banging on about — it’s fast-paced, and it escalates. We laugh (or at least smirk) at the pot plant going down the bog because it’s the climax of a series of little visual gags that get increasingly silly, and the boy’s frantic energy combined with quick cuts between the gags helps us stay engaged.

The fifteen-second version of this ad necessarily skips the escalation, but still manages to get the joke across with the “What if he gets hungry?” gag alone — which just goes to show that a short runtime is no excuse for overlooking comedy!

Our gripe with this one is the mismatch between the message we take away — I can flush whatever I want down this toilet and it won’t break!? — and the message we think we’re meant to take away: “This toilet stays clean 5x longer.” Whatever that means.

It’s not enough to be amusing. You need to make sure your comedy conveys the precise message you need it to, otherwise you’ll end up with one funny advert, and thousands of customer service complaints from people surprised that their toilet broke when they tried to flush a battalion of toy soldiers…

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