Emotion: The Super Weapon of Advertising

Have you ever been asked by a television commercial to donate to animals in need, and you can’t resist the pouty, sorrowful puppy eyes staring back at you? Or, how about those unsettling anti-smoking ads that make you cringe at the screen? What these advertisers are strategically doing is using emotional advertising to influence the viewers.

Each of these examples represent two different types of emotional advertising.

On one hand, targeting your audience’s emotions through your marketing campaigns and advertising efforts can make it easier and more comfortable for your audience to connect with your brand on a personal level, and therefore more likely and willing to follow through with the call-to-action. Check out the now iconic British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) commercial with Sarah McLachlan—this tugged at all of our heartstrings!

On the other hand, emotional advertising can be used to send messages that discourage the aura, appeal, and attractiveness of certain products or actions. By associating negative or derogatory visuals with the vape or cigarette, the viewer does not feel connected, but rather turned off by the circumstances on the screen. Check out the Federal Drug Administration (FDA)’s award-winning public education campaign, “The Real Cost,” showcasing how the effects of cigarettes and e-cigarettes alike negatively impact young adults’ and teenagers’ lives. The prevention campaigns focus on educating youth about the detrimental health risks of vaping and smoking.

HMA has been involved in a variety of public awareness campaigns like this including our work for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (who can forget This is Your Brain on Drugs) and our work on behalf of the Arizona Department of Health Services’ anti-smoking campaign “tumor causing, teeth staining, smelly, puking habit.”

The effectiveness of emotional advertising is quite powerful. To read more about other types of emotional advertising, check out this article on nostalgia.

Written by
at Feb 23, 2023

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