• Lim Zhixing

Emotional Marketing - All in the head

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

How do advertisements actually influence or convince consumers to purchase their products? Research shows that people actually perceive brands the same way they perceive a normal human; through their emotions. This simply means that the more they resonate with a brand emotionally the more likely they might make a purchase.

Brands are the main reason why consumers prefer a certain product over its alternative despite both being almost identical, having the same ingredients and benefits. The alternative may even be sold at a lower price, but the consumers still pick the branded product.

Happiness, sadness, anger and fear are the 4 core emotions that human feel when interacting with another person. But it's more than just these 4 emotions. Let’s take a look at Robert Plutchik’s “wheel of emotions” :

Let’s say emotions are like colours. One slight change in the tone will lead to a whole different colour. For example, it might still seem like blue, but it is definitely a different shade of blue. These emotions create a certain inclination towards brands, which will progress with consumers purchasing the product.

Here is a simple breakdown of the 4 emotions:

Happy news or good news travels faster than bad news. Studies shows bad news sells. If it bleeds, it leads. No news is good news, and good news is no news. But why does good news sell better than bad? Because neurologically, people tend to share happy news more, we care about how our family and friends react when they hear our story. When someone smiles or shows that they are happy, people tend to reciprocate that emotion and return you a smile, sharing any content that had made them smile.

Sadness, entice the consumers by reaching to their sentimental side, tugging at their heartstrings. This emotional advertising tactic is rather common in Thailand. Thai Life, a life insurance company screens heartbreaking advertisements that their target consumers are able to resonate so well to. Sadness makes us more giving, inspire us to help and be kind.

Fear is a negative emotion that several companies has tried to create. It is rather hard to entice a positive take-away from this emotion in a short commercial film, but there are ads that have successfully relayed their message - in 2016, a British supermarket Waitrose produced a 90 second ad that reflects the dangerous journey of a young robin across mountains and seas to find its way to where it spends every Christmas. Associating your brand with fear allows consumers to perceive you as a place of refuge when things take a wrong turn.

Anger, can be a very powerful tool if used correctly. Anger can influence consumers to have a desire for action just to remove the source of this emotion. Also, content that inflicts slight anger may create a viral content, just like a random Facebook video of a local misconduct can become viral overnight. An example of a successful campaign is Procter & Gamble's Always' Like a Girl. The campaign that won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix award, Grand Clio award, and 11 Webby awards uses a common insult " like a girl" to grab consumer's attention.

Depending on what your company wishes to achieve, choose the right emotion that your commercial should put off.


Emotional marketing is all in the head. Just like when we meet someone for the first time, what stands out? First impression counts! All it takes is 7 seconds and you'll probably know if you want to be acquainted with the other party or not. Same for advertising, after the commercial, you are will be subconsciously conflicted to make the purchase or not at all. Now think about this. You watch two commercials, one just throws facts and benefits of their products while the other allows you to feel happy or sad. Which ad will make you more inclined to purchase the product advertised? The answer is obvious and now the problem is how to identify the emotions involved in an ad.

Neurotrend's equipment are able to help analyse the Emotional Engagement - Initial emotional response to the TVC in the eyes of the audience, on how appealing the commercial is. Click here to find out more on TVC/ Video analysis.

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