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Emotional Appeals Most Commonly Used by Brands


Glint Advertising - October 25, 2021 - 0 comments

Every marketer understands the difficulty in creating quality emotional advertising. Brands that convey emotions efficiently are the ones that connect the most in the eye of the consumer, driving consumer choice. There are many ways to evoke feelings in your audience; imagery, color, music, messages, and so on. 

But what are the most common emotional appeals used by brands? And which emotional appeals are most effective? We explore the importance the role of emotion plays in decisions and the brands that capitalize on these appeals adequately. But first, the facts. 

Why use emotions? – Using emotion to engage customers is nothing new. Advertisements with emotional content are more likely to be remembered than those merely conveying statistics. In fact, studies show ads that contain emotional pull double in success than those which contain rational pull. By utilizing emotions in your advertising, you can establish how you want your audience to behave towards your brand. A great example of established brand perception is Nike, and its iconic checkmark is known as a symbol of inspiration and perseverance. 

How does it work? – The concept is simple: emotional appeal advertising persuades customers to buy products and services by triggering emotions (happiness, fear, passion) rather than emphasizing rational thoughts (statistics and facts). Brands need to recognize what emotion triggers their audience the most beyond the fundamental indicators. Knowing your audience and what content they receive best will give you quick insight into positioning your marketing emotionally. 

Types of Emotional Appeals and How Brands Use Them

While advertisers use every emotion under the sun to adequately convey their message, these are the ones that stuck out to us the most, along with successful campaigns that still hit home for viewers to this day. 

Happiness Appeal – It’s no surprise that we, as humans, respond to happiness and warmth, as we typically crave that dose of serotonin in our everyday lives. Dove’s Real Beauty is a powerful example of appealing to that emotion. The short film portrays the gap between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. 

Each person is the subject of two sketches made by an FBI sketch artist; one based on their own perception and another based on someone else’s. The results prove that we often see ourselves as less beautiful and happy, while others view us entirely differently. This campaign was a hit and went viral after eliciting emotions like warmth, knowledge, and happiness. It is still circulating among their advertisements to this day. 

Humor Appeal – People love to laugh. It’s one of the universal things we have in common with almost everyone. While humor is the most recurring appeal in advertising, it is also one of the hardest to get right. Progressive seems to have it nailed down.

At Home with Baker Mayfield has become wildly popular due to its blend of hilarity and relatable domestic stereotypes. The brand’s most recent rendition stars the Heisman winner and his wife handing out “treats” to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. Where one typically receives candy in their baskets, the Mayfields give out the finest of stadium nachos. A two-fold message rings clear in this series: protect your home with Progressive homeowners insurance, and that Baker Mayfield knows how to take care of a home. One that holds 67,000 people to be exact. 

Sad Appeal – While positive advertising tends to drive good results, there is something to be said about negative emotions in the industry. Research shows that using sadness proves to cause empathy and emotional development in consumers. A commonly known ad that pulls at the heartstrings is the animal cruelty ASPCA public awareness campaign. 

The ad shows images of different abused animals as it highlights statistics of how frequent animal abuse is every day. Was it heartbreaking? Absolutely. Did it work? Definitely. The ad raised $30 million after its release, according to the New York Times. Show of hands if you can no longer listen to Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” without tearing up.  

Fear Appeal –  Though we are in the midst of spooky season, we don’t intend to scare you. However, ads that appeal to your fears do precisely that. The most famous examples are anti-smoking campaigns, portraying gruesome imagery of rotting teeth, people with holes in their throats, and black lungs. This technique works excellent despite its brutality and effectively persuades consumers by making them feel there is a significant risk if not taken seriously.

How to Apply Emotions to Your Marketing

We’ve established the benefits of emotional appeals in advertising. So how do we apply it? Sit down and think about your brand, what you’re trying to convey to your audience, and the actions you want them to take. Then, find a common association between your product or service and your audience. Finding that commonality will help you connect an emotion that will resonate well with your audience, and in turn, give the impression that your brand is there to help. 

If you don’t have the luxury of audible voices or music in your ads, the best way to connect emotion is through visuals and messaging. Having a strong, creative headline with proper imagery will guide your audience when seeing your ads, eliciting the emotions you want to deliver. Most importantly, make sure your message is genuine and that you’re thinking through every aspect of your campaign. When it comes to emotional appeals, you have to think in the eyes of your consumer and be certain of the reaction you want them to have. 

Time to Invest in Emotional Marketing

The truth is, no matter how logical you may be, we all make decisions based on our emotions, as it’s the glue that holds brands and consumers together. More and more consumers are choosing brands that align with their values and connect with their emotions. If you can effectively incorporate emotion into your marketing strategies, your brand will benefit from stronger revenue and long-time customers. 

With Glint as your agency, you have access to our vast knowledge of marketing strategies and techniques tailored specifically for your business. Contact us today for more information on how we can help your brand shine! 

Emotional Appeals

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