Is humour the new sex in advertising?

Malboro billboard advert, smoking maybe be hazardous to your health, that's why only real men do it
I’m not sure if I am alone on this one, but whenever I watch TV most of the ads I see tend to aim at leaving the viewers laughing more than anything else.

Sex has been employed in advertising since the beginning of advertising. It has been predominantly used to draw attention to a product, with a goal to make a sale.

The sexual imagery used usually has no connection to the product advertised.

While listening to the Metro FM’s Breakfast Show a couple of weeks back, the DJ asked the listeners to call-in and share their faviourite (currently on-air) adverts. All of the adverts the listeners mentioned as their favourites were ads that had a some sort of a ‘punch line’ at the end.
Most of the callers couldn’t stop giggling while they were sharing their favourites with other listeners.

It’s clear that the ads made it to the viewers ‘faviourites list’ simply because they made them laugh. The same kind of adverts resurrect whenever ‘cool’ adverts become part of the conversation whenever I converse with friends, family and complete strangers.
Before labeling an ad as a success, does the advertiser and the ad’s intended audience judge the ad on the same audience (re)action?

Some ads even managed to make me laugh so hard that I’d be in tears. But, I have never bought and I doubt I’ll ever buy most of the products that were being advertised, though I fall within the advertiser’s targeted market. KFC also has some funny TV ads, again most make me laugh until my poor t-shirt drowns in my tears. However, the disturbing thing is that I really don’t remember or even have noticed which of their product range was advertised.

Most ads have some sort of ‘story or play’ happening for 99% of the time and then only get to say, name or show the product being sold at the last 2 seconds of the ad.
The product usually loses the spotlight to the ‘joke’.

I have a friend named Tshepho, almost all the time we watch TV together and an ad he liked just went by, he’ll go “tjo, ah advert yela e blind san!” (wow, that ad is a killer man). And most of the times I can tell when he is about to say his ‘phrase of approval’ before he even utters a word.
Why? Because he’d already be laughing like there’s no tomorrow, occasionally with a round of applause.

I know that with the countless number of marketing messages we consume daily, an ad that seriously made me laugh is likely to stay in my already over-populated mind for some time to come, while some ads never get to part ways with my memory.

People really do fall in love with ads; my dad would at times shout my younger brother’s name, just calling him to come see his favourite ad. But does that translate into a sale or at least a brand building exercise that might be a sale someday?
Do consumers really make their final buying decision based on who made them laugh the most?

The biggest contrast between sex and humour in advertising is that sex is mainly used to attract audience to the ad, while humour is only exercised after the ad has attracted the viewers’ attention.

Is there any logical reasons for advertisers to play comedians?