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Harnessing the Power of Emotional Advertising

Advertising is simply the practice of getting people to buy something. Many agencies focus on great design, clever copy, and high-quality photos and videos to accomplish this. While these are all vital aspects of what makes a good ad, they are not its core.

Visual factors should only highlight the heart of your ad, which is its message. An effective advertisement makes a connection with its audience.

One method that’s been tried and tested for years is appealing to a consumer’s emotions. People often use their feelings when buying things, although they do not always know that they do.

Take the example of Dove’s “Courage Is Beautiful” campaign that launched when COVID-19 first hit. Done by award-winning ad agency Ogilvy, the campaign aimed to show gratitude to the health workers in the front lines of the pandemic. It showed moving pictures and videos of doctors and nurses, with close-up shots of their faces marked by the masks they wear every day.

It struck a chord with audiences because it spoke to their emotions during the global pandemic. Amidst the fear of the situation, many were appreciative of health workers but did not know how to express it. Dove did it on everyone’s behalf!

How to Use Emotions to Appeal to Audiences

Humans feel a huge spectrum of emotions every day. These are smart ways to appeal to the many feelings a person experiences through your ads.

1. Encourage happiness.

People love feel-good content. Even the simple act of featuring smiling models in your ads can already evoke feelings of joy from customers. Pay attention to the ads you see every day, and we’re sure you would notice that most, if not all, of the ads, have people smiling while doing something. Plus points if brands use cute mascots, too.

Coca-Cola is one brand that has capitalized on this inclination towards happy and positive content. They have had numerous campaigns through the years that have “happiness” in the slogan, from the 2009 “Open Happiness” campaign to 2015’s “Choose Happiness” campaign. This way, they established an association between drinking a can of Coke and happiness.

There are different kinds of happiness to portray, too. If you are selling halo diamond engagement rings or wedding rings, appeal with the joyful feelings of romance. For toys, excite people with the excitement of opening a new gift.

2. Tap into fear (in a good way).

Negative emotions are a lot trickier to portray in advertisements. They do not evoke as immediate a reaction as happy ads. But there are times when using fear is relevant to the goal of your campaign and your brand image.

For example, if you sell cars and want to promote safe driving, use videos to warn people of the dangers of distracted driving. Once people understand the consequences of such actions, it will discourage them from acting carelessly on the road.

It helps to remember that fear does not always have to be about untoward incidents. Sometimes, the simple fear of missing out on a good deal gets people to buy stuff. Make good use of countdowns and notifications about low-stock and sold-out items to urge people to buy a product before it runs out.

3. Defy norms with anger.

Today, social responsibility has become more important to consumers than ever before. Make a statement about important issues or support causes close to your business’ or consumers’ hearts by using that anger to inspire people to take action.

For example, if your business has made a push towards sustainability and eco-friendliness, highlight the responsibility of businesses and consumers in worsening climate change to spur people to support businesses like yours. When done tastefully, anger encourages audiences to rethink their choices.

4. Move people with sadness.

a sad person

Using sadness in your ads does not exactly mean just making people feel sad with your materials. But sadness brings people to empathize with the struggles you portray in your ads.

This approach is popular with charities and social groups. They bring consumers’ attention to real yet overlooked issues by discussing tough realities in different parts of the world.

But be careful with these ads, as a lack of sensitivity will make your ads look exploitative instead. Focus on bringing awareness and not guilt to motivate people to do something.

The feelings you portray in your ads should resonate with the relevant consumer base of what you are selling. Also, emotional advertising is effective, but you must always ensure that you stay within the bounds of propriety in your ad choices.

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