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A couple of weeks ago I gave a little talk on the power of emotion in advertising. I thought I’d share a little of it because there are some nice examples.

I have also included a handy little PDF on emotions from Robert Plutchick that adds more depth than in the presentation I gave. In particular it shows our evolutionary response to those emotional stimuli. For example in the case of being presented with an unpalatable object (say a cigarette full of gunk and not tobacco) we appraise that as poison which stimulates digust. Our reaction to disgust is to vomit and eject the poison. And that model helps us to understand why disgust is sucha powerful emotion in advertising if you want people to change behaviour (like give up smoking) and not just change their attitudes.


I kicked off with a quote that we love at Saatchi & Saatchi because it feeds directly into the philosophy behind Lovemarks and helps people understand that emotional potency is a better route to effectiveness than pure rational communication.
“The basic difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions”. Its by a chap called Donald Calne who plies his trade as a brain scientist.
I then backed this up with some data from the excellent IPA book by Peter Field and Les Binnet on Marketing in the Era of Accountability. There is a whole chunk of stuff that uses the IPA Effectiveness dataMINE to show that on virtually any conceivable metric emotional involvement beats rational persuasion in getting result delivered. Seriously worth getting a copy from the IPA.
Then I wanted to talk about fundamental human emotions rather than whitter on about the sort of emotions we write into the usually pointless and bland tone section of our creative briefs. I wanted to show that communications can create an intensely emotional response in the viewer and that meant understanding real emotions not marketing emotions – remembering of course that emotion is the highest form of interaction. As luck would have it in a rather serendipitous moment I stumbled across Paul Ekman who apparently isolated five fundamental emotions in the early seventies. He did this studying tribespeople in Papua New Guinea because they were free from Western cultural conditioning.
So here are the five commericals each representing one of the five emotions. Clearly I reckon you feel the emotion very clearly but that may be because I’m a sensitive old soul. See what you think.
Joy

Anger

Sadness

Disgust

Excitement

Remember this is not about what you think watching these films but what it makes you feel. You don’t have to be excited by the idea of football to feel you pulse racing.
I kind of wrapped it up though by making a plea for more than executional emotion (utterly powerful though that is). Rather that at best brand should be emotional to the very core.
And that it pure Lovemarks territory. In other stopping using communications to get people interested in the stuff brands care about and instead re-engineering brands to care about the things we all care about.
Which returns me to my traditional gig about brands having a position and not a positioning.
You may thinks all bullshit – but it works for me.
Here’s the PDF of Plutchick’s work.
It looks like this which is quite funky.
JPlutchik.emotion.theorie.POSTER.jpg

Image courtesy of awwwww.cc

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