Emotional Advertising: How to Create Better Advertising with Emotions

In the big world of digital media, we’re constantly confronted with ads and commercials. But what makes them stand out? What makes your audience remember your commercial (including your message and brand)? I found an answer by having a look at the hyped topic of neuromarketing and emotions.

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What Is Neuromarketing?

When I looked more closely at this term, I noticed that there are various definitions. But I also noticed a link to emotional issues. Emotions are important in any kind of writing, including blog articles, white papers, and books.

The Neuromarketing Science & Business Association (NmSba) also describes neuromarketing as anything that:

“Aims to better understand the impact of marketing stimuli, by observing and interpreting human emotions.”

In short, neuromarketing helps you understand consumers’ emotional responses to your content. So you’ll finally get insights into your target audience’s decision-making.

Where to Use Neuromarketing?

Knowledge about neuromarketing can be applied to many different areas. You can use it when designing, packaging, advertising, pricing, and filmmaking. I’ll focus on the use of neuromarketing principles in spot creation.

But first, I’ll take a closer look at emotions.

What Exactly Is an Emotion?

I’m sure you know how it feels like to get an physiological response from emotions. For instance, you might get the giggles or get a lump in your throat. Or you might feel your heart beating or knees shaking.

Scientists at the University of Glasgow analyzed human behavior in more detail. Their research suggests that humans have four basic emotions:




We don’t usually experience pure forms of any emotion. But they can be combined in a variety of ways. Your audience will also experience  a consciously targeted combination of emotions while watching your spots.

But what is an emotion? I think this definition is pretty accurate:

“A complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and an expressive response.” (Hockenbury & Hockenbury, 2007)

Emotions are able to trigger complex reactions in your brain and entire body. So they have a huge impact on your thoughts and behavior.

The Power of Emotions in Commercials

One of the most significant hacks for getting the most impact from your content is to address the emotions of your audience. Emotions drive our everyday decisions. We generally can’t control our emotions because we can’t consciously perceive them. They creep into the audience’s subconscious and leave a specific feeling there.

The Nielsen Company conducted some interesting research about the power of emotions applied in commercials. They found that ads which generated above-average brainwave activity were associated with a 23% lift in sales volume.

Since emotions can have such a strong impact, it should be your first priority to engage the emotions of your audience when you produce commercials. In this way, you’ll create an emotional connection with your brand.

So your challenge is to create stories that stay in people’s heads. In this context, I recommend reading 12 Storytelling Techniques for Boring Brands. This guide will give you valuable insights into storytelling techniques and the utilization of emotions.

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Common Emotional Triggers that Improve Ad Performance

When I started digging a little deeper into different commercials, I wondered:
Do commercials aim for certain basic emotions?

The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science carried out a study that addresses this exact issue. They pinpointed which kind of video content drives sharing.
The results show that video content that create positive emotions get more shares than those that cause negative ones.

But any emotional appeal gets twice as many shares than rational content whether it’s positive or negative.

These results make it even more important to create commercials that appeal to your audience’s emotions. But don’t worry. In the following section, I’ll show you the basic emotions you need to know about.

I filtered out the 3 most commonly used emotional triggers:
1. Laughter
2. Touching Hearts
3. Empowerment

Great Examples of Ads that Create Emotions

1. Laughter (happiness)

The following brands decided to produce commercials that make their audience laugh. Humor causes consumers to connect positive feelings with their products and brands.


Dirt Devil


This example of prankvertising might be less amusing for the participants, but it’s even more entertaining to the audience:

2. Touching Hearts (sadness)


I’m sure you’ve already heard about the German Edeka commercials. At first, the following clip evokes feelings of loneliness and sadness. But then it turns into togetherness and Christmassy well-being. The story takes an unexpected twist, which causes the audience to link positive feelings with the brand:


Especially during the Christmas season, stories warm our hearts. Here’s another great example:

3. Empowerment (happiness)


In the following clip, the focus lies more on the emotional message than on the product itself:
You’re great just the way you are!

Brands like Dove noticed that increasing self-esteem works well as an advertising method. The audience develops a positive relationship with the way they look, so they feel accepted.


Microsoft tells inspiring stories about individuals using their technology to break barriers. The audience learns that achieving the impossible can become possible now.

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I hope you gained an understanding of neuromarketing and its importance in advertising. It’s worth it to pull the emotional trigger in your spots!

Emotional campaigns are more profitable. Emotional content makes your audience share and finally buy.

[icon_text box_type=”normal” icon=”fa-check” icon_type=”normal” icon_position=”left” icon_size=”fa-2x” use_custom_icon_size=”no” icon_animation=”q_icon_animation” title=”In summary, you should always keep the following points in mind during your commercial-spot production:” title_tag=”h3″ separator=”no”]
  • Don’t ignore the power of emotions.
  • If you only use rational content and “dry” information, your audience will be bored.
  • Be aware that creating an emotional connection with your brand is important.
  • Use effective storytelling techniques.
  • Pinpoint which emotion you want to trigger.

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