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7 Emotions and How Marketing Agencies Use Emotion

Written by:

Dave Norris




Digital Marketing Agencies Columbus Ohio

How Marketing Agencies Use Emotions

Marketing agencies use multiple emotions within a creative campaign to convince the audience. Ultimately, emotion is the medium used to instill trust. By nature, people rely mostly on emotion rather than information. This is because gut instinct takes over when information is not present. However, our brains are geared to deliver us an answer even when we do not have information to back the answer up. Information is still required within a marketing campaign and a good content strategy will deliver information by evoking certain emotions. Ad agencies use emotion to raise awareness, attract the right audience, and to drive engagement.

Why Marketing Agencies Use Emotion

If you are marketing to people, you are going to want to think about emotion. Marketing agencies key in on emotions that help tell a story. Emotion is what makes a human take action. Emotions are powerful. Emotions are the only tell a person has when it comes to something new. Whether it be an email marketing campaign built around the launch of a product or remarketing campaign, humans are the target, emotion is the medium.

1. Joy

Brands love associating their image with smiling faces, sunshine, dancing, cute animals, and the like. Positivity is contagious. The most shared ads are ones that bring happiness to the audience. To continue with trends and data, fury friends such as dogs and other animals tend to be present in some of the most popular ads to date. In relation to connection, humans are in constant search of something to relate to. We make friends based on how well we can relate to each other. We make buying decisions based on the same equations and principals.

2. Fear

While some agencies might use scary visuals that cause fear as a result of the visual, others use fear as a hidden tone. Agencies use fear by calling out a present scenario that with action taken, could be avoided. In the case of the latter, agencies use fear to urge the user that they don’t have to be afraid or that there is an alternative. This type of marketing is common with world or local problems, current issues, and maybe even threats or crises. Take the New York City DOT campaign for example.

NYC DOT 30mph vs 40mph ad

3. Anger

Anger in advertising is often used as a way of getting a point across that will inevitably bring to light a negative situation. It is the hopes of most marketers and agencies that their ad is not at the root of the anger however. Rather, the hopes when using anger as a medium within a marketing channel is to take the audience in that channel and convert anger into action. Ads and campaigns that portray anger or negativity for that matter, use the negative to show that there is a positive solution. Take for instance the ad below. Note: This ad could land under either “sadness” or “anger”.

4. Sadness

Sadness can play out numerous ways, all of which drive a user to act on removing the sadness. It is human nature to try and remove sadness from our lives or the lives of others. Marketing agencies use sadness to connect with the audience. There are ads that bring about a sense of sadness and rely on the viewer to take action. However, the most creative are the advertisements that use memories of good experiences in the past that in present time, bring about a sense of nostalgia/sadness (the happy cry). This Extra gum advertisement is a perfect example of evoking sadness through memories (and lots of them).

5. Disgust

Disgust while sometimes used in reference to vulgarity, or something that brings about the “ew” factor. The most creative campaigns take a current world problem and show us, if we didn’t know already, that there most definitely is a problem. This leaves us disgusted with ourselves for thinking one way or another or more importantly, not doing anything about it. Always #LikeAGirl campaign shows us that younger girls do not carry the same understanding as post pubescent women when it comes to the ever so common “Like a girl” phrases.

6. Anticipation

Anticipation in marketing is typically conjured up in a way that makes the user feel uneasy about letting a potential event, product, or solution pass them by. In other words, a user feels uneasy about missing out. In marketing, the fear of missing out on something is used a lot. Marketing agencies will sometimes hide the ultimate sense of urgency behind creative messaging while others will come right out and say it. Take for instance this Honda ad that truly is brazen about the timing.

7. Trust (The Ultimate Marketing Emotion)

Trust is the ultimate marketing emotion simply because it is the goal with every single campaign out there. Emotions like anticipation and joy can be compounded into the campaign. Building trust is the objective. If you don’t like the word trust, think if it as a brand gaining points in the loyalty department. Brands want users to feel connected. At the same time they want an audience to feel the connection and to start being loyal to their products and brand as a result.

Building trust can not be done completely within one campaign, the idea is though that trust can always be built and be built upon. A marketing team who is good at building trust knows that nuances are responsible for big impact. To truly engage a user or audience and build trust, the campaign has to make a connection. You often hear the phrase, “That really hit home”, or “I will remember that one”. The audience needs to find similarities in their own life with what they see on a screen. The user needs to feel multiple emotions yet not mixed feelings. Marketers who can see the macro tend to be well versed in building a brand’s trust as it is an expectancy that the brand could and should be around forever. This advertisement by SC Johnson rings familiar with most Americans. Familiarity in this case being familial.

Bonus: Funny (Although “Funny” is not an Emotion) so… Joy

We will continue with our next article being based solely around building brand trust and using trust to build brands. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get notifications of articles about marketing and our marketing agency. You can do so below.

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