Whether they are little cartoons living in our heads, or a complex system involving both physical and psychological components, emotions are powerful. We experience many types of emotions every day, and they have a strong influence our actions and decisions. These decisions include the people spend time with, the food we choose to eat, and the products we choose to buy.
In advertising, there is a division between the rational and emotional. Rational advertising lists fact and information, while emotional advertising strives to reach consumers on a deeper level. When choosing between these strategies, the choice is not always clear or concrete.
Take Budweiser’s 2015 Super Bowl Commercial, for example. The commercial, entitled “Lost Dog,” follows the story of an adorable puppy finding its way home. Just before arriving safe, the puppy is surrounded by wolves. At the last moment, the famous Budweiser Clydesdales ride to the rescue and the puppy saved and reunited with its owner. A slow and heartfelt cover of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” covered by Sleeping At Last plays in the background throughout. From the music, to the sadness of losing a pet, to the joyful reunion, it would be difficult to say this commercial did not stir up emotions. “Lost Dog” earned a top spot among 2015 Super Bowl commercials, and the YouTube video has over 29 millions views.
While the Budweiser logo was shown several times, the main reason this advertisement was successful was because it made the viewer feel. It also used music and imagery that set it apart from competitors. Cute puppies are not often used to advertise alcoholic beverages, after all.
There are countless more examples, further proving how influential our emotions are. So, the question becomes whether rational or emotional advertising is better or more effective. An analysis of the IPA data BANK suggests that pure emotional advertising could perform nearly twice as well as rational advertising. While this might not always be the case, it explains why many companies use this technique.
So why do certain images evoke certain emotions?
Everyone is different, and we all feel differently. What is scary to one person may be amusing to the next. Some of these responses are instinctual, while others are based on past experiences and knowledge. For example, a child may not fear a wasp until getting stung or until warned of the danger. The image of the wasp then brings about fear or a painful memory.
The most effective emotional advertising uses images that most people can relate to or are familiar with. If a past experience playing with a puppy made someone excited and happy, the puppy on the screen is likely to get the same response. Emotions utilize our memories and experiences, often on a subconscious level – and the more we feel, the more successful the advertisement becomes.
Blog post by: Kimberly Schwarzenbart