When brands say they want emotional ads, I usually say “I can’t wait to see this emotional creative brief you wrote.” Without digging deep to understand the emotion and consumer insights beneath the surface, asking for an emotional ad, feels like a random game of chance. To get emotional ads that work for you, you must understand the emotional space your brand wishes to own and then layer in emotion-based consumer insights.
Do you understand the emotional space your brand can own?
Below you will find a list of 40 potential emotional benefits. From my experience, marketers are better at finding the right rational benefits than they compared with how they work at finding emotional benefits. As a brand, you want to own one emotional space in the consumer’s heart as much as you own a rational space in the consumer’s mind. When I push brand managers to get emotional, they struggle and opt for what they view as obvious emotions, even if they do not fit with their brand. I swear every brand thinks their brand should be the trusted, reliable and likable.
The emotional benefits cheat sheet
I have used Hotspex research methodology to create an emotional cheat sheet with eight emotional consumer benefits zones, which include optimism, freedom, be noticed, be liked, comfort, be myself, be in control, and knowledge. Use the words within each zone to provide added context.
Brands must own a space in the consumer’s heart. Brands should own and dominate one of these zones, always mindful of which zone your competitor may own. Do not choose a list of emotions from all over the map or you will confuse your consumer. And, use the supporting words to add flavor to your brand positioning.
Ten emotional ads that work
Here are ten emotional ads that do a fantastic job going into the emotional space, whether it’s a mass retailer, a utility or a shoe company. They do a nice job of connecting the consumer tightly to the brand. While the ads do that, does the brand do what it takes to back it up when you experience that brand? In some cases, yes, but not all.
For all the romantics, this is one of the best ads. They tell the complete story through google searches, with a few surprises like the airline ticket, wedding bells and of course the baby. Extremely creative.
Nike’s “If You Let Me Play”
Nike released this inspiration way back in 1995, outlining the benefits of having girls play sports. Brands such as Always “throw like a girl” were inspired by this type of message.
P&G “Thank you mom”
Back in the 2012 London Olympics, P&G was making an attempt at a Master Brand strategy. This is a beautiful Ad, that is a nice salute to moms around the world, whether your child is an Olympian, or not.
Aired during the Super Bowl, it’s one of the best spots I have ever seen. Using Paul Harvey’s storytelling hit a positive vibe with Farmers and Americans in general. The simplicity of the idea, yet storytelling at it’s best. They didn’t over-do the branding, but consumers were so engaged in the ad, they were dying to know who is it that’s telling this story. While everyone else is being loud, maybe being so quiet stands out.
Canadian Tire “Bike Ad”
This ad makes me cry every time. We can all remember our first bike and how special it is. In Canada, Canadian Tire was that store, prior to Wal-Mart entering the market. Now, Canadian Tire can’t deliver on this promise, because it now resembles Wal-Mart. No longer is it where you go for your first bike, but rather where you go buy Tide when it’s cheap.
Wow, a utility delivering an ad that gives you goosebumps. I have been to that beach in Dieppe and it does command such intense feelings. As you can tell from the phone at the end, this was in the early days of Cell phones, trying to link the idea of connecting anywhere. While this is just an ad, I do wish that utilities would try harder to connect with consumers at every stage of the consumer’s buying journey.
John Lewis “Christmas 2011”
Every Christmas, British retailer John Lewis has been releasing campaigns around Christmas. To me, this one is the best, especially the ending. John Lewis is an employee-owned retailer, with a unique culture that delivers on the brand.
Aired only once, only a few months after 9/11 the context of this ad is paramount to the emotion. An amazing salute, by the brand, to the heroes of 9/11.
Pfizer “More than Medication”
A nice twist. The ad appears to be a typical rebellious teenager, but he turns into an angel, with a big message for his sister.
Nike “Find your Greatness”
Aired during the 2012 Olympics, this ad was a very high risk but also ran counter to all the athlete ads. There are many types of motivation, for some of us, Michael Jordan is the inspiration. But not all of us are Michael Jordan. This kid running is the average person that gets out there and makes it happen. My hope is that it inspires you do get out there and “just do it”, on your own terms.
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At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.
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You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.
Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.