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Invoking Emotional Advertising to Engage Your Audience

Invoking Emotional Advertising to Engage Your Audience Brad Anderson / 30 Apr 2019 / Marketing / Sponsored emotion sells

All brands are looking to engage more closely with their target audience and existing customer base. Captivating your intended customer requires connection on a deeper emotional level. Rapport with your objective means using emotion in an authentic way throughout your marketing in a way that can stir that in others.

One tactic, emotional ads, has a significant lasting impact on consumers on both a conscious and subconscious level, according to research. Here’s how emotion can motivate consumer purchase decisions.

According to the Numbers

One study found that emotional ads experience close to twice as many dollars return on investment compared to an ad that doesn’t use emotion. Those ads with emotional content had a 31% increase in sales while straight forward ads only had a 16% increase.

Emotions That Trigger Consumer Action

Certain emotions create more of an impact on consumers than others, triggering them to potentially buy or take another action.

According to a Nielsen survey, 50% of consumers in North America feel that humor has the most impact on them and resonates better in ads. (3)

In contrast, stories that include some type of injustice or discrimination can incite consumers to action. Ads with surprising information tend to be more memorable ,while those that offer a positive message with hope also engage consumers. Other types of effective emotional ads involve excitement or nostalgia.

How to Measure the Emotional Success of Emotional Ads

There are many tools that help a company assess the emotional engagement of consumers to the emotional ads they saw. These tools include neuromarketing, which incorporates medical imaging tests like an MRI or EEG to study how the brain reacts to certain content.

Eyetracking develops heat maps from consumer eye movement while looking at print or video content. A net promoter score (NPS) uses a scale system to assess immediate customer engagement.

Examples of Emotional Advertising

To better understand how emotional advertising is used by brands, there are a number of examples that illustrate a best practices approach.

In 2013, Dove created and launched the “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign. The emotional ads highlighted the beauty of all types of women across age, ethnicity, and size. The campaign achieved close to 30 million views in 10 days and 15,000 new YouTube subscribers in just a couple of months.

In 2014, Airbnb had a campaign that focused on homeowners opening their homes to guests to illustrate what it would feel like to stay in an Airbnb as well as what it would be like as a host. The Airbnb campaign aligned with the company’s championing of the everyday person and appealed to those who wanted to help others. Three years later, the company realized over 60% growth in guest arrivals.

Gillette’s “Perfect Isn’t Pretty” campaign for the 2016 Summer Olympics spotlighted individual athletes and the personal and professional struggles they experienced on the way to becoming Olympic athletes. It resonated on an emotional level, touching people who also felt compelled to improve their lives. A TV ad from Gillette campaign reached 30 million YouTube views during the Olympics.

Lessons Learned

Emotional ads are a highly effective tool to engage and connect with your audience. To learn more about how to include the best emotions in your content ads, check out this infographic on the power of emotional ads from Point Park University Online.


Brad Anderson

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at

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