50 Ingenious Signs That May Leave Your Sides Hurting From Laughter (New Pics)
You've heard of stand-up comedy, but are you familiar with sign-up comedy? Well, the concept is simple: there are signs, hung up in various places, patiently waiting for passersby to read them and chuckle. And as the Funny Signs subreddit has made abundantly clear, there is absolutely no shortage of silly signs in the world.
Below, you’ll find some of our favorite clever, hilarious and even unintentionally funny signs that members have shared in this light-hearted group. Enjoy scrolling through this signage that might inspire you to keep your eyes peeled for silly signs in your own neighborhood, and remember to upvote the ones you’d love to encounter someday!
The Funny Signs subreddit has a very simple mission. Their “About Community” section invites members to submit their “funny signs, billboards, or warnings here!” And clearly, many people appreciate the art of a hilarious sign. The community has amassed an impressive 2.7 million members over the last 11 years, and they’re constantly sharing the silliest and most amusing signs they spot from all over the world.
Anything from billboards off the side of the highway to pieces of paper taped to doors on small businesses can be featured on r/funnysigns, as long as there’s humor in the message. And if you’re an advertiser or individual trying to ensure that your signs don’t get drowned out by the millions of other signs that bombard us every day, humor might be your very best tool. In fact, even state governments in the US have implemented comedy into their highway signs warning drivers of the dangers of speeding, driving drunk and texting while driving.
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According to Business Insider, funny highway signs have popped up in Iowa, Texas, New Jersey, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and more, urging drivers not to drive “Star Spangled Hammered” on the Fourth of July and to “Hocus Pocus Drive With Focus.” But the federal government seems to view these eye-catching signs as more of a hazard than anything else.
In 2022, federal officials tried to bring an end to the quirky highway messages displayed in New Jersey, such as “We’ll be blunt, don’t drive high” and “Nice car, did it come with a turn signal?” But some experts argue that the fact that these signs grab drivers’ attention is exactly why they’re so effective. Tripp Shealy, a researcher at Virginia Tech, supports the snarky signs because they force drivers to engage their brains and can help break up the mundanity of driving on long, boring stretches of the highway. If these signs make us chuckle for a moment, they might snap us back to reality and make us realize that we’re accidentally going 15 over the speed limit.
Another common type of hilarious sign you might see featured in the Funny Signs subreddit is one from outside of a restaurant or fast food establishment. But according to the Houston Sign Company, these can be hit or miss. They might grab the attention of people passing by and make them stop to take a photo or wonder what business shared the hilarious message in the first place. And if the sign goes viral on social media, it’s a sure way to bring in new customers.
But on the other hand, these humorous signs can be a risk. If the joke is inappropriate or falls flat, customers will be deterred from coming in. And they will affect the kind of clientele your restaurant brings in. So if you have an upscale dining establishment, you might not want to post a funny sign outside that will attract children and young people who will impact the ambiance of your restaurant and won’t be willing to pay high prices for their meals.
If you’re a restaurant owner who wants to make a humorous sign part of your brand, to attract customers and encourage them to post about their dining experience on social media, make sure that you choose the right message. In fact, it might be wise to change up the signage every month or so to continue grabbing potential customers’ attention as they drive or walk by. And of course, as a business owner, you can’t place too much emphasis on the sign. It might get customers in the door once, but without excellent service and a great customer experience, it won’t be enough to guarantee they keep coming back.
When it comes to advertising, it’s no secret that humorous commercials and taglines are effective. We all know “Jake from State Farm,” Progressive’s spokeswoman Flo, and the Old Spice man because they used humor to grab audiences’ attention. Especially when companies are aiming to sell a particularly boring product, such as insurance or deodorant, it’s important for them to find some way to be memorable to consumers. And if that can be achieved by paying for a massive billboard on the side of the highway captioned, “Your wife is hot! Time to get the A/C fixed," why wouldn't companies order hilarious signs?
At the end of the day, every company wants consumers to remember their name. (Ideally, in a positive light of course.) And according to a 1993 study published in the Journal of Marketing, “humor is more likely to enhance recall, evaluation, and purchase intention when the humorous message coincides with ad objectives, is well-integrated with those objectives, and is viewed as appropriate for the product category. Under such circumstances, humorous advertising is more likely to secure audience attention, increase memorability, overcome sales resistance, and enhance message persuasiveness.” We’ve known for decades now that a funny ad is more likely to leave a lasting impression than a serious one!
“Humor, when executed properly, helps cut through the noise and helps you stand out,” says Tim Washer, a senior social media and marketing manager for Cisco Systems in New York City. “If you can make someone laugh, there is an emotional connection with them. And anything you say beyond that is going to be more meaningful.” So if you can grab the attention of viewers, pedestrians or readers with a catchy, silly line or photo, then your main message that follows will be even more impactful.
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If you’re looking to execute some comedy in your own marketing or messaging, Washer says there are two common mistakes he sees companies make all too often. “The first, and easily the biggest, is trying to include too much product messaging,” he told Inc. “As soon as you start doing that, you lose the audience. It's important to fight the urge to burden a comedy with product information. The second mistake I see is companies that simply are not willing to take a risk by being a little bit edgy. If you are safe, your results will be average. But it's when you take a chance that something can become really big.”
We hope you’re enjoying your scroll through all of these hilarious signs, pandas. Keep upvoting your favorites, and remember to keep an eye out for all of the silly signs that are hiding in your own city. I’m sure there are more than you think! And if you’re looking for a sign to keep scrolling on Bored Panda, here it is: you can find our last article featuring amusing photos from the Funny Signs subreddit right here!