Some might not agree, but emotion-provoking ads can create performance, although not in the traditional sense. Emotions also can make an advertisement go viral, and entice consumers to latch on to the brand for life.
A recent study from Professor Jonah Berger from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and Microsoft researcher Daniel McDuff studied emotions with assistance from automated facial-recognition technology and a machine-learning algorithm.
The study found that whether positive or negative, those viewing the video ad were more likely to share it if they felt some sort of emotion. It’s not about provoking positive emotions, but provoking “activating” emotions. Emotions that provoke some sort of emotion, whether good of bad.
One of the most interesting facts, however, involves the differentiation of negative emotions. While sadness decreased sharing, other emotions like disgust slightly increased it.
Most brands shy away from negative emotions. Marketers assume if a commercial makes viewers
feel disgusted they won’t share it or want to be associated with the brand. When used correctly, negative emotions can become a powerful way to engage customers, according to the
Most brands shy away from negative emotions. Marketers assume if a commercial makes viewers feel disgusted they won’t share it or want to be associated with the brand. When used correctly, negative emotions can become a powerful way to engage customers, according to the study.
Take, for example, ads that make people feel angry by illustrating injustice, or that make them feel anxious or grossed out by describing the health risks of a disease. These might incite people to take action by sharing the information with others. One of the most successful ads of 2020 was Dashlane’s “Password Paradise,” which compared the frustration of losing a password to being stuck in Dante’s inferno.
Those participating in the study were shown video ads for everything from beauty products to pet care, Snickers to environmentally friendly paper towels. Each participant was asked how likely they would be to share each ad. The study used the webcam on the viewer’s computer, with their consent, to track their facial expressions. A machine learning algorithm categorized and their expressions into different emotions. Then it tallied the findings.
Researchers designed a system to detect common facial reactions based on movement in key facial features such as smiles, brow furrows, and more. The trained model enabled researchers to test hundreds of videos on over 2,000 participants worldwide.
Some consider that many of the ads produced for this year's Super Bowl were purpose-driven. While most brands steered clear of referencing current events, Jeep’s Super Bowl ad "The Middle" attempted to create an emotional connection — to the reunited states of America— with Bruce Springsteen narrating the journey, donning a cowboy hat at the end of the video. The ad landed at No. 2 on YouTube’s most-viewed video, following Amazon’s Big Game Commercial: Alexa’s Body, to the top.
“We just have to remember the soil we stand on is common ground,” Springsteen said. “We can get there. We can make it to the mountaintop, though the desert, and we will cross this divide.”
Comscore and enterprise AI platform Hive also released data related to Super Bowl ads, reporting that returning advertisers from last year's broadcast secured a majority of national commercial minutes — 56%, up from 52% last year.
Messaging featured fewer new product announcements — 29% this year vs. 40% last year — and less promotion of websites, apps, and hashtags--29% this year vs. 56% last year.
Some 91% of ads featured women and diverse casts sustained last year's double-digit gains compared to commercials within Super Bowl LIII in 2019.
In another interesting statistic from Comscore and Hive, the reduction in fans during the 2020 NFL season boosted the level of TV exposure for the league's sideline sponsors because more people watching on TV viewed the stands.
Gatorade and Bose totaled more than 10 minutes of time on screen during Super Bowl LV, up nearly 60% from last year's game and continuing a season-long trend.