Ever driven by a billboard that made you smile for the rest of the day? Or watched a television commercial that nearly brought you to tears? Chances are you’re thinking about one now as you’re reading this. (And we don’t even mean the ones with Sarah McLachlan and the saddest animals you’ve ever seen in the world.) There are ads out there that have just the right combination of words and images that pull on your heartstrings in just the right way. That’s why you remember them long after seeing them.
Our emotional responses to anything – including ads – are based on our past experiences. The memory of those experiences – good, bad, sad, scared, etc – triggers a response to the ad. Nigel Hollis from Millward Brown states it perfectly, “Emotion is at work all through the process of reacting to advertising: from our initial response to our feelings about the brand to the interest and faith we have in the claims and appeals of the advertising .”
The trick is to get the response that you’re looking for from your audience. The first thing you have to consider is what your audience wants to know about the product you’re selling. For example, if the ad is about a hospital, you want to highlight the good things – like the award-winning maternity ward or the cardiac surgeon who has completed over 2,000 successful heart transplants. Your audience wants to know that your hospital is the safest, cleanest, most successful hospital on the planet and that their loved ones will be well-cared for there.
From there, it’s all about finding the right words and imagery. Let’s go with the cardiac surgeon. When people think about a cardiac surgeon or a heart transplant, their first thought might be the cause, like a heart attack. From there, they might think about a relative who suffered a heart attack, like a grandparent, a family friend or a spouse. The overwhelming fear, obviously, is losing that loved one. Your ad needs to reassure your audience that their loved ones, should they suffer a heart attack and need a transplant, will be in the best, most qualified hands in the field.
Now that you have your ‘story’ ironed out, you have to put words and pictures to it. Place an emotionally-charged image, like a grandfather pushing a little girl on a swing, front and center in the ad. Pair it with an evocative headline, such as “Keep sharing the moments that matter,” and include the hospital’s logo.
It doesn’t always have to be quite so dramatic, though. If you’re a car dealership, focus on what people are looking for in a car, such as gas mileage, horsepower, safety features or even luxury brand identity. If you’re a bakery, highlight your top-rated wedding cakes. You get the point, right? Think about what will generate an emotional response from your potential customers and run with it. We can help.