Emotional advertising is a method of persuasion that’s designed to create an emotional response. This is done by making someone laugh, cry and or feel anger towards a certain topic. Emotional advertising is twice as efficient as rational advertising, and it delivers twice the profit. Ads that make people share and buy can usually be summed up in one word: emotional. Studies show that people rely on emotions, rather than information, to make brand decisions – and that emotional responses to ads are more influential on a person’s intent to buy than the content of an ad. Emotional campaigns, and in particular those that are highly creative and generate powerful fame effects, produce considerably more powerful long-term effects than rational persuasion campaigns.
Historically, people have recognised six core emotions: happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry and sad. However, in 2014, a study from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology published research stating human emotion is based on four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.
The most viral ads each year revealed to be heavy in emotional content. Emotional awareness from brands hasn’t always been a thing. In the 1990s and early 2000s advertisers were more concerned with humour and sarcasm. The key ingredients for a strong emotive ad is a good soundtrack, subtle brand integration, and high- end production values.
Basing a campaign on a killer fact rather than an emotional connection is easy, however brands have damaged themselves when an emotional campaign failed to align with reality. An example of this is the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad which caused an up raw due to the controversial topic as they misinterpreted the audience’s emotional response.
A successful example of an emotional advert is for Hovis. Hovis’s 2010 TV ad restated the heritage of the brand but said nothing in product terms about it. Consumer-held product attributes strengthened significantly across the board: healthier, more natural, better quality, tastier, for the whole family, modern, innovative. Sales rose 14% year on year since 2010.
The reason that I believe that emotional advertising is more successful is that when we think with logic, it’s easy to identify that an advert is trying to sell you something and so you immediately switch off from the message, even if it’s an interesting one. When it comes to emotional adverting, it’s more difficult to draw a line between being sold to and being entertained compared to being sold to. Emotions make us more vulnerable to opening up and when we let our guard down because of emotional content, we are more open to the sales messages attached. Because emotions effect people much more than logic based advertising, there is more room to get things wrong and its much higher risk, with the damage to be done much more, but overall I think it’s worth it for the potential gain involved.