Most of us have, ahem, unpleasant memories of being laughed at in our love lives. Whether we recall the snorting laughter of the cheer-leading captain as she turned down our invite to prom or the time our friends walked in on us on Lovers’ Lane, we’ve all had a cringe-worthy experience. Laughter could be your only defense when facing an embarrassing moment – and laughter during intimate moments can trigger panic in even the soundest of minds.

But most people also have some happy, funny romantic memories. Whether we remember the time we went for a midnight swim, laughing as we jumped in the water, or the day we watched our significant other solve clues for a treasure hunt we created, we’ve all laughed about good romantic times, too. And it’s a good thing – most people can’t talk about intimacy without getting the giggles.

Trump Awkwardness with Comedy

This impulse is what inspired my company’s latest marketing campaign, a video about the Ultimate Hybrid mattress. We wanted to introduce a new mattress product to the marketplace that combined comfortable technology with a better “bounce for ounce” in bed. (Really – we even created an app for that!) Rather than make everyone feel awkward by addressing directly the intimacy problems that all-foam mattresses can create, we wanted to develop a campaign that could break through the clutter and make a lasting impact. So we teamed with Second City Communications, the corporate services division of the world-renowned improvisational theatre company, to talk about sex in the (gasp!) bedroom.

Think about it: the entire bedding industry pretty much stays away from the topic of sex, which is pretty funny. So many different consumer products out there use sex appeal to sell their stuff. From food to cars to clothes, they’re all in on the fun. If anyone can directly tie their product to the act of sex, I am pretty sure the mattress people can. But they don’t; the question is why?

Fear is part of the problem, as the industry I work in is incredibly conservative. Nobody wants to offend the consumer. Who says you have to? That’s why humor is vital when you’re taking on a touchy issue and need to easily disarm your audience. Whether you need to make a foot fungus medication sound glamorous or you have to address impotence problems, humor can soften the blow. It makes it clear to your customers that you’re having fun with your product while poking at it (as the case may be). They’re getting your point – and liking you more for it.

Don’t Push the Boundaries Too Far

Second City is the very best at what they do, producing funny content on video. It’s difficult to intersect a business objective with a creative solution when incorporating humor. It’s even trickier to talk about things in a way that will catch people’s attention without offending them. It’s essential to bring in the best comedians you can find, people who know how to straddle the awkward without losing their impact.

Humor is an emotion and sex is an emotional thing, so your message needs to be emotional. You need to use good sense and stay away from certain things. Humor widens your entry point and allows you to talk about a larger range of things – if you play your cards right. When selling a product, avoid the obvious faux pas: don’t mock tragedy, don’t question your audience’s intelligence, and don’t take a viewpoint that’s too polarizing because it could isolate part of your demographic. You don’t want to suddenly lose your customer base who are faithful Republicans, long-time animal lovers, or burrito enthusiasts (isn’t that all of us?). If you can skirt those topics, you can actually push the comedic boundaries more aggressively. Make fun of Grandma’s ugly muumuu or joke about your headboard’s inability to keep up with you? Yep, you’re on it.

Improvisation Lends Spontaneity to Your Reputation

Great comedy often includes a heavy dose of improvisation. Great stand-up comedians will not only use their rehearsed material, they’ll also bring the audience members into the routine with them. This is very similar to standout marketing, which requires you to think on your feet, react to the culture, and take into account the business climate. In business and in comedy, it doesn’t matter what happens to you – it matters how you react.

People who are able to quickly change to meet the needs of their environment and still make a high impact are the ones who win. Humor proves this spontaneous ability; companies that come out and laugh about a woefully misguided strategy will win back a lot more customers than the businesses silently working through their shame. It also helps your front line – these guys are in the trenches every day, and if they have a well-known tool or icon to point back to, it simplifies a sale, explanation, or customer satisfaction issue.

Some people prefer to lead a very straight-laced life, both in and out of the bedroom. But bringing humor into your business not only makes things more fun, it can also help you establish thought leadership in your industry, stretch your conversations, and strengthen your ability to think on your feet. Introducing comedy into your marketing campaigns will make you more memorable…just like it will in your love life. So go ahead and make fun of your Transformers-printed bed sheets or the socks you wear to bed – if you don’t, someone else will. Climb into your adjustable bed with an innerspring mattress and make some memories that you can laugh about in your old age.