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How Is Emotion Used In Advertising?

Marketing is a means to make use of media to speak to its consumers. With so many brands and establishments generating new commercials each and every day, what makes an ad stand out is how well it speaks to one’s heart. That’s right, it’s emotional marketing. Playing on emotions in an ad increases its chances of being seen and has a higher rate of engagement with its audience. 

Using emotions in your ad to sway decisions and opinions is tricky because there’s a fine line between fostering a heartfelt connection and a corny production that just makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s important to frame relevant emotions with an appropriate narrative that suits your brand identity and values. Here are some examples of different emotions that fit well into an ad. 


1. Happiness 

Source: Pictionary. Fish. by Mattel

Everyone knows the Pictionary. It’s the go-to ice-breaking game at basically every event and gathering. It is a light-hearted, charades-like arty game that encourages active communication and engagement between players. 

Their brand identity is cheerful, active, and casual — their ad reflects this very well. In the beginning of the ad we see a guy choosing from a drawer-full of fish. He proudly wears a fish and goes about his normal day at work — to a meeting, to lunch at a restaurant (the irony as he walks into a Japanese restaurant and orders sushi) and at a party where he wears it around his head. It looks ridiculous, but it works very well in Mattel’s favor, to create a comical image for a fun game. 


2. Fear 

Source: Trend Hunter Eco

Fear is a more natural instinct. When our survival is at stake we feel a churn down in our guts that helps us react appropriately. While these fear tactics are usually to scare drunk drivers off the road, this one took a different approach. 

At first glance of the man on the WWF ad you will see a man is pensively gazing somewhere far. The gaze is forlorn, regretful. But what strikes most us is the realistic, rather grotesque fish head in place of human features. Below the disturbing mutilation is the phrase ‘Stop Climate Change Before It Changes You’ — sending an alarming message that if we keep letting our icebergs melt, some messed-up reverse evolution will occur and we will end up like said fish man. 

Fear is often known to associate a negative feeling with the brand — which is why it has to be used carefully — but sure is effective when it is used to call for action. 


3. Sadness

Watch P&G’s Thank You Mom campaign

Sometimes ads send us bawling, making us an emotional wreck. Emotional ads that play on heartstrings tend to have a personal impact on their audience. 

P&G’s opportunistic sponsorship deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee for the 2010 Winter Games has birthed the visceral “Thank You, Mom” campaign. The ad documents mothers and their children — they catch and pick their children up when they fall from childhood to adulthood, where they grow up to be some of the greatest athletes. The ad hits harder because as we watch this, we think of our own moms. We think of ourselves in our 𝓍 years of existence, and all the moments our moms have stayed by us that we had been oblivious to. 

But as you can tell, the ad’s narrative has nothing to do with the products of P&G. Although the ad wasn’t selling us stuff, the highly interactive ad which resulted in a #ThankYouMom Twitter and Facebook movement has unknowingly fostered brand love and recognition.


4. Anger

Watch Always’ #LikeAGirl ad

Anger works as a powerful drive in an advertisement. It usually serves as a sort of awakening and spurs action. Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign is a good example of how the feeling of anger drives us to question our perspective.

Different questions with the same premise are asked to each individual — what is it like to do something like a girl? Most of the adolescents and the youths — when asked what it is like to run like a girl — squealed and giggled as they flapped their arms and flailed their legs. Their younger counterparts had a different reaction. When asked to run like a girl, they just ran. Like themselves. With powerful, energetic strokes. 

At one point in their puberty, a simple statement transforms to a derogatory comment. The ad addresses the issue ever so directly, and we as viewers feel the need to challenge the deep-rooted gender stereotypes.

As an American brand of menstrual hygiene products, Always shows that they uphold women’s empowerment, thus staying true to their brand values. 

Source: HubSpot, TrendHunter, Spiralytics, Medium 


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