Now Showing: A Play on Words!

At some point in your life you’ve been subjected to a pun. Whether or not it hit the mark is subjective.

A pun doesn’t extend you too much comically. It’s generally a pretty safe way to go. If you do falter while using one, you’re probably going to be treated with empathy and not harsh criticism.

However, if you’re thinking about making a comedic career out of it, you may end up looking like a red headed prop comic.

“Does anyone want an autograph?….Anyone?”

I want to draw your attention to a trend that I spotted in the copy of posters for children’s films this past summer.

“Play on Words” was big at the box office.

We can see what they were trying to achieve with the “It’s not over until it’s over” concept, and we can decipher the message behind the “Who’s your Nanny” idea. However, I think the mark may have been missed with the “Put up your Dukes” message. It doesn’t nail the execution or convey a story as well as the previous two.

In the end, if you’re going to use a cliché, make it work for ya! Each poster attempted to use the film’s titular character as part of the copy. The job here is to position the character to be one who is enjoyable, light-hearted, and funny for the whole family–just like your pun telling grandfather. Did they work? For two of the three, it did.

Remember, puns are kid tested, and parent approved!


  1. I think they pigeonholed themselves by relying on Duke as a word. They should have tried using another dog related pun. The image could be more appealing, too. A perfect example of a dog related pun would be “Bone-a-fied Hero”, which was used for the Cats vs Dogs 3D movie poster.

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