Emotions in Advertising

10th January 2016

It’s no surprise that some of the most popular marketing campaigns of all time have little or no relation to a product or service, but instead use a storytelling technique to evoke strong emotion. It’s simple, filling us with joy and delight makes us want to buy more. Remember the powerful Sainsbury’s Christmas ad from last year? In 24 hours it received nearly 2 million views on YouTube and even moved some viewers to tears.


Although many have noted that we as consumers are becoming more cynical and less susceptible to advertising, it’s hard to deny that we are completely unaffected by campaigns that tell a meaningful story. We all like to think that the subliminal messages of these ads don’t get through to us but the truth is show us a bear waking up in time for Christmas and we’ll be falling at your feet!


If we asked you to recall your favourite ad of all time you probably wouldn’t speak of a great ad from DFS that showcased their range of sofas or a price promotion advert from Asda letting you know that Heinz beans are on offer.


However, whilst we can all admit that telling a story will continue to tug on our heart strings getting the right balance of sentiment without appearing too cringe worthy is a pretty hard task for even the best of marketers So here’s how we think you should go about planning your next campaign:


1. Pick the right emotion. A study found that loss, nostalgia, desperation, pain and confusion were all topics that resonated with consumers. The important lesson to remember here is that you don’t have to tell the story of a child learning to ride a bike to be remembered.


2. Be as realistic as you can. There’s no point telling an uplifting story if your customers are going to see right through it. To fully appreciate a story we have to relate to it in some way or other. This may mean looking closely at your target market and identifying themes that are relevant to them; telling the millennial generation a story of a father spending time with his children may not quite hit the spot


3. Don’t give it all away. Make sure your customers demand more. Think of the famous Nescafe ads of the 80’s, viewers were so keen to see what happened next they tuned in as if it was the next episode of their favourite soap. In the new age of social media a good trick could be releasing teasers via your social channels to really build up the hype.


4. Make sure it relates back to your offering. Whilst many emotional campaigns move away from the core product or service it’s fundamental that the customer can still make a link between the two. After all there’s no point in your customers remembering your uplifting story but failing to remember it was you behind it.