9 campaigns that won with humor

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Humor is one of the hardest things to do well in digital advertising. These nine efforts of 2011 succeeded in a whole range of ways. Take a few minutes and give them a look. It will be good for you to laugh. You see, laughing builds up endorphin levels that help us deal with the stressful situations in our hectic workdays. Better stock up now, you're going to need them today. Because in 10 minutes, you'll be getting a call about how all your click tags are redirecting to the wrong site. Just kidding.

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Axe: Clean Your Balls

No brand stands more erect than Axe when it comes to consistently thrusting itself inside. Our popular culture, I mean. This is a brave brand -- as brave as a Trojan -- with a ménage à trois formula including pretty woman, double entendre, and impeccable comedic timing. Millions stalked this video on YouTube, Yahoo, AOL, and more. "Clean Your Balls" is just another notch on the headboard for this hot playa. But don't expect this campaign concept to last long. Axe's MO is to come and go, scoring new themes, formats, and executional styles while always leaving us wanting more. Let's all hope this brand's edgy character never gets put to bed.

Office Max with JibJab: Elf Yourself 2011

It's simple, customizable, G-rated fun. Every year the action gets better and the tools even easier to use. The Elf Yourself concept is a new Christmas tradition everyone looks forward to. And it makes Office Max come to mind right when people begin to get their holiday shop on. My favorite part of this effort is...no edge or snark required. This is something everyone can enjoy.

TomTom: Bert and Ernie

Driving gadget sales with something other than tech talk -- that's the road TomTom took with this viral campaign. When you're facing a traffic jam of devices and competitors, sometimes it makes sense to change lanes and leave all the performance factoids behind. The new Bert and Ernie voices for TomTom devices put a little fun in the shotgun seat -- at a time when work commutes are getting longer, and people need a little chuckle. Say Chuck + Ull. Chuckle.