Why Emotional Advertising Sells


Whether we are conscious of it or not, we respond emotionally to everything. But when it comes to advertising, it’s not just the tearjerkers that invoke an emotional response from us, there are others factors involved too.

The Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology have differentiated four basic human emotions; ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’ and ‘Surprised’ and each of these can greatly influence, and even determine, our decisions. In recent years, advertisers have been pulling on these emotions rather than information to sell products, and emotional advertising has now become a prominent trend. Advertising expert, Millward Brown, comments:

“Oftentimes advertisers steer away from the presentation of factual claims and create ads that they hope will evoke an “emotional” response. They want the ads to resonate with the target audience on some level; they want people to relate to the situation portrayed in the ad. They want viewers to come away from these ads feeling positive in some way: moved, rewarded, pleased, or proud, to name just a few responses. Feelings such as these, which can be prolonged and which can be the subject of conscious reflection, can have a significant effect on our decision making.”

Just take this year’s Super Bowl as an example. The advertisements that stand out were the ones that played on our emotions. From Melissa McCarthy’s surprising yet hilarious series of Kia ‘Hero’s Journey’ clips to Airbnb’s moving ‘We Accept’ campaign that took a political stance by standing up equality and acceptance, audiences came close to tears of both laughter and sadness in the same sitting.

There has been lots of scientific research behind this type of advertising in addition. According to 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 and 2-to-1 for print ads”. When advertising plays on people’s emotions, it also plays on their insecurities. That may be convincing them that they need the latest gadget to look ‘cool’ or diet supplements to attain their ‘ideal look’.

It is clear to see that this form of advertising works for many brands, and it can for you too. When you are planning your next campaigns, try to think about how you can incorporate an emotional angle to appeal to consumer’s hearts and minds. Our advertising team are well versed in helping brands develop their story, so if you would like assistance or a consultation, then please do get in touch with us today.