It's All About Emotion: How Brands Can Win With Evocative Advertising

High emotionality is the driving force behind every successful, memorable ad. Whether we’re laughing or crying, inspired or outraged, it’s the things we feel that cause us to share ads with our friends and family — both online and in person — and build relationships with brands.

Here are six ways your brand can build success by driving emotions among your target customers:

1. Match your tone and visual approach to your brand’s DNA. Every brand is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful, emotional ad. 

Staying true to your brand’s story, voice and culture — whether it’s edgy, wry, family-focused or inspiring — will result in emotion-driving, effective, shareable ads aligned with your brand’s values.

2. Tell a story with twists and turns … and an upbeat ending. Drama and humor are two great tools for building emotion. By changing directions throughout your story, you can create the surprise and laughter that makes an ad worth talking about.

For instance, a smartwatch advertiser we worked with shifted moods and experiences through a short video that featured female athletes in a variety of settings, from a kayaker paddling on a tranquil lake to a triumphant ping-pong player defeating a challenger with a dramatic paddle drop.

Brands that market products or services that address more serious needs (e.g., insurance or pharmaceuticals) can achieve a similar effect by highlighting a problem and resolving the ad with a solution.

3. Employ color, motion and a gripping soundtrack. Bright colors and starker palettes are a great way to set a mood, while music and animations are effective at drawing users in.

As an example, a quick-service restaurant advertiser generated outstanding results with a bright, fun graphic that expanded with a tap to showcase a burger’s mouthwatering ingredients. A health insurance brand used the theme music from “2001: A Space Odyssey” to bring customer-centric solutions to life in an uplifting, relatable way.

4. Keep it simple. At a time when consumers are bombarded with content, a streamlined, to-the-point ad can conserve the customer’s limited energy and focus.

For example, a grill advertiser drove store visits with an intuitive slider functionality. Users could toggle to compare the food cooked with the brand’s advanced technology to the unappetizing, charred results of a more conventional grill.

5. Walk in the customer’s shoes. Marketers aren’t what I call “civilians,” and our perspectives aren’t always the same as the people we’re trying to connect with. As such, it’s important that we work to view the ad experience through the customer’s eyes rather than our own.

In the case of a fashion retailer looking to connect with Gen X women, the brand created a video that portrayed age-appropriate models celebrating their true selves in a fun, relatable way. The target audience found the ad “empowering,” noting that “it was refreshing to feel good about myself.”

6. Connect digital ads to real-life feelings. Digital ads can be especially powerful when they allow consumers to imagine themselves using the brand’s products in a real-life setting.

A number of our automotive advertisers have digitized the road test and showroom experiences with videos of the car in motion and interactive views of a vehicle’s dashboard and interior. This approach has made consumers feel excited about experiencing the car in the physical world, delivering strong full-funnel results in the process.



As we strive to balance positive user experiences with advertising effectiveness, emotional ads are crucial to driving digital and physical world conversation, consideration and action.

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