Hump Day



Hump Day

Many times, advertisers will try to use humor to make us like their products.  One American insurance company named Geico has a series of funny commercials.  They finish these commercials with a line comparing how happy their customers will be.  In this case, their customers will be as happy as a camel on Wednesday.

Watch this commercial and see if you know why it’s funny:


Americans are laughing at this for two reasons.

First, Geico is merging the two meanings of the word "hump." In American slang, Wednesday--the middle of the work week--is called Hump Day.  If you can get over the "hump" (or hill) that this day represents, you are coasting downhill toward the weekend--and happy time away from the office. The other meaning of "hump" is the large storage bump on the back of a camel. In this case, Geico made a pun by putting together these two different meanings of the word.

Second, the camel is perhaps a little too enthusiastic this Wednesday.  He goes from co-worker to co-worker asking about the day, pushing them, bothering them. Of course, they all know what day it is but prefer not to say because it will just encourage the camel to continue his loud enthusiasm.  Most of us have an office mate who is a little too loud or in-your-face. On one hand, U.S. office workers are rolling their eyes at the camel colleague in this commercial.  On the other hand, the four-legged co-worker is still cute in his exuberance.  And that makes us laugh.

Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.