Make me laugh

Lately I’ve been wondering why is entertainment so successful on the web. It seems to be the magic formula to making something viral or getting a lot of hits (that or pure controversy). You wouldn’t be sending your friends product recommendations (lame) but you sure will send them a little funny video like this:

Advertisers have long known that entertaining audiences is a great way to get their attention. Humor is commonly used device in ads and perhaps the most memorable one. Scott Karp comments how this is now fueling a new wave of interactive and entertaining web advertising. Click here to see the article.

So now we’re all talking about conveying information through entertainment, as if we all needed sugar to pass the natural bitterness of coffee. Hence we have make up words like. ‘infotainment’ or ‘advetainment’, and my favorite, ‘edutainment’

Why is this? Why do we need to entertain to get attention? Is this detracting from the core message?