Laughter may well be the best medicine, but it is also the best way to get web users to share your branded videos.
That's according to a new study conducted by the University of South Australia, which found that the best way to get people to tweet, email or share your clip with their various networks was to make them chuckle.
The stronger the belly laugh, the more likely they are to share it with their friends, family and peers. Emotions such as sadness and anger also featured prominently, but were less likely to prompt sharing.
Looking at the most popular social videos over the last couple of years that does seem to be the case. Last year, 15 of the top 20 videos used humour as one of the content triggers.
This year's top 20, released by Unruly recently, also backs up this theory, with half of the ads using humour.
But what about the ads that did not make the list? Surely, if laughter is the best way to get people to share your video, by that logic wouldn't the funniest ads also be the most popular?
Well, to help test this, I have compiled what I consider to be the top 10 funniest commercials of 2011.
I have also included the number of shares each video attracted. Only one (Chuck Testa; the funniest) appears in our top 20 most shared ads of 2011, while others barely trouble the top 500.
If you want to see my full top 20, click here.
10. Pepsi Max: Love Hurts
Shares: 17,657 social media shares
9. Fountain Of Health Colonics: Richard Marx
8. Aides: Clever Dick
7. DirecTV: I am Epic Win (purely for the little giraffe)
6. Vegemite: Darwin Ice Hockey Club
5. Snickers: Party (feat Joe Pesci)
4. Blizzard Entertainment: Chuck Norris WoW ad
3. JeChange.fr - Dad
2. Cravendale: Cats With Thumbs
1. Ojai Valley Taxidermy: Chuck Testa
Shares: 859,100 shares
And that is the problem: humour is extremely subjective. For example, (and you can shoot me now) personally I don't find Seinfeld funny, despite the fact that a lot of people whose opinions I respect say that it is one of the funniest shows ever. Truth be told, it does not make me laugh.
So either I have a very bad sense of humour (which is possible) or for a video to be receive over a million shares it needs more than laughter up its sleeve, like triggers such as cuteness, inspiration etc.
It could explain why David At The Dentist and Charlie Bit My Finger are a lot more popular than the recent Fenton (or is it Benton?) the Dog meme, which in my humble opinion (and a lot of journalists' too judging by the amount of stories) was far funnier.
But then I do have an odd sense of humour.