How Emotion is Key in Advertising

November 7, 2015

by Ian Cumming | Content Producer, CLICKON Media

While the logical thinkers will most likely proclaim that advertising is essentially about selling a brand, we know that real advertising is about happiness, experience, and nostalgia. Emotions are ultimately what drives us to buy that new car, that cool new video game, or the  smartphone with the 10,000 megapixel camera.

Most advertising executives will say that adverts are split into two categories of thinking: rational and emotional. Of course, this doesn’t mean that adverts structured around facts can’t still be beautiful, and emotional adverts can’t still contain informative subject matter. There are a variety of effective ads everywhere. Yet, some of the best ones have something in common.

Any solid agency can make a well formatted, informative advertisement. But the best ones know that real ads reach viewers on a deeper, more intimate level. In reality, every ad has the potential to elicit some sort of emotional response, whether that be tears, laughter, or pride.  Great ads aren’t just memorable, but keep you thinking. They affect you. They change you. Below are 5 great advertisements that use the emotion from real life experiences to wonderfully promote their brand. They are so effective in their production value and storytelling that you forget that it’s an advertisement in the first place.

5) Prudential “Bring Your Challenges” – Droga 5

Droga 5 outdid themselves with their “Bring Your Challenges” campaign in which we get a series  of brief, but dense and beautiful documentary films following the first day of retirement for various individuals. On the first day of retirement, these individuals look back on their lives, reminiscing on the thick and thin, as well as proclaim their hopes for the future. In this extraordinary portrait, Linda reflects on her wonderful marriage, her dog Deakin, and the significance of contentment in life. It pulls at the heart strings like no other ad does. At only 3 minutes, this ad will leave you speechless.

4) P&G “Thank You” – Wieden & Kennedy

If this ad doesn’t make you sniffle, you’re probably not human. P&G, a multinational manufacturer of household products, spoke with W+K about creating an epic, but emotionally driven advert that would better reach their key demographic in light of the London Olympic Games. According to USA Today, P&G executives estimate they received $500 million in added sales from the campaign during the London Olympics.

3) Guinness “Wheelchair Basketball/Friendship” – BBDO New York

Guinness has a long and wonderful history of unique and compelling adverts, and “Friendship” is no exception. The advert is ultimately a great expression of friendship. It features six guys playing wheelchair basketball, revealing in the end that only one of the men is actually impaired. It’s an incredible and heartfelt display of friendship, and what other way to extend that friendship with a delicious and savory beer after the game. According to AdWeek [Ace Metrix], “Friendship” scored 30 percent higher than other beer brands during the quarter.

2) Cesar UK “Love Them Back” – AMV BBDO

Directed by Rattling Stick’s Andy McLeod,  this advert takes place in a European town and follows the relationship between an old man and his little white pooch. But after the man reaches the tombstone of his significant other, even non-dog owners will understand this dog is friend and companion to the old man.

1)  ExtraGum “The Story of Sarah & Juan” – Energy BBDO

Who knew that something has simple has gum could make you so god damn emotional? “The Story of Sarah and Juan” uses not just the gum, but turns the useless wrappers into a symbolic object of affection and memory. BBDO executive creative director Andrés Ordoñéz tells AdWeek, “[It] is not about a specific relationship, but about all moments of connection.”

According to Peter Noel Murray Ph.D. from Psychology Today, “advertising research reveals that emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials.”

Here’s to the moments in life that make you laugh, cry, and jump or joy.