Tug on my heartstrings, please!

August 3, 2015

By Mala White, senior manager of committees and conferences

Last year, the ANA’s Multicultural Excellence Awards program broke its submission record and a good portion of the advertising award submissions were designed to appeal to the audience’s emotions. Attempting to connect to their audience with emotions of happiness, sadness, or empathy, advertisers are hoping that appealing to their audience’s basic human emotions will gain them brand recognition, brand loyalty, and ultimately,  a greater return on investment.

Take for example ANA’s 2014 Grand Prize Winner in the LGBT Category, Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome” campaign. Honey Maid rolled out ad campaigns that appealed to the nuclear, blended, interracial, extended, and same sex families and in doing so elevated itself from being the standard graham cracker company into one that, through emotion, embedded itself into the social conscience of society. With the face of America changing, Honey Maid’s message is resonating with a new type of audience and that’s a good thing. Many more brands are following suit, from Allstate to General Mill’s Cheerios and P&G,  as advertising today is becoming more about appealing to the emotions of the audience and connecting on a level other than just their wallet. And it’s paying off.

According to IPA dataBANK, which contains 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, “campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content (and did a little better than those that mixed emotional and rational content).”

As we begin taking submissions for 2015 ANA’s Multicultural Excellence Awards, I’m expecting to see more brands take this approach. As Plato said, “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” So marketers, if you want my loyalty and my money, tug on my heartstrings, please!


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