Cadbury’s 2007 “Gorilla” campaign was a remarkable display of the power of emotions. Instead of relying on a brand message, product offering, or category-specific benefits, they instead took a bold approach by focusing purely on evoking strong feelings. The ad featured the iconic Cadbury purple as a backdrop, and showcased a large gorilla seated at a drum kit, skilfully playing the iconic drum solo from “In the air tonight”. Following its release, a staggering extra 20% of the UK population held a ‘favourable’ view of the brand. This impressive number firmly illustrates the immense influence of strong emotions in capturing consumer attention, and driving both short and long-term success.
In our recent blog post, “Have your cake and eat it: How brand building campaigns can drive both short and long-term sales”, we talked about how some companies earmark separate budgets for long-term brand building and short-term sales activation, and how an increasing number of brand-building creatives have been driving short-term sales by triggering these kind of emotions.
When we analysed our campaign performance database, we can clearly see campaigns with high emotional liking – the typical objective for brand building – not only drive a positive brand perception but also trigger call-to-action effects like purchases or website visits.
Campaigns with high ad-liking have a significantly higher short-term impact than campaigns with a lower score. The more an audience likes the creatives, the more inclined they are to act directly.
Which emotions should you trigger?
So what are the right emotions to trigger in a successful brand-building campaign? We again analysed our database, this time using our N-Emotion intelligence tool to look at the spectrum of emotions that were evoked across more than 3,000 campaigns. Even across the vast range of brands and industries, there were several common emotional factors that could be seen in campaigns that had a high ad-liking.
Firstly, regardless of how well executed an advertisement is in other aspects, if it leaves your audience with a feeling of irritation, scepticism, or distrust it will have a poor impact. Conversely, ads that leave people feeling happy, entertained, or high-energy tend to achieve average or higher performance levels. However, generally ‘happy’ is not enough by itself. An ad must also engage the audience. We see the the emotional barrier stopping ads reaching the top 20% of ads in our database as indifference or disinterest.
Only 5% of ads reached level 5; representing campaigns with the highest short and long-term interest. These are the make-or-break ads. Interestingly, here we find a significant number have taken a brave approach by successfully creating elements of surprise that evoke strong emotions. But striking the right balance is crucial. While some bold endeavours triumph others falter, sparking anger or unease. These ads tend to have no positive effects for the brand.
Triggering the right emotions makes an ad stick in the consumer’s mind, and it plays a crucial role in shaping brand perceptions. However, it is essential to strike the right balance in order to achieve the desired effects. Significant rewards are there if you can balance the tight-rope. A well-crafted emotional experience leads to a deeper processing of your ad, creating stronger associations between the campaign and your brand. Providing an emotional experience will also make consumers focus their attention on the content, thereby improving sender recall (which is one of the growing challenges in marketing communication). Furthermore, stronger associations increase the likelihood your brand will be front of mind in future purchase making decisions.
This post was written by Robert Beatus, Nepa’s Head of R&D.