The Power of Emotional Marketing – Behind the Superbowl’s Most Effective Ads

During this year’s Superbowl, Google aired a 90-second television spot that left millions of viewers teary eyed and talking. Named simply, Loretta, the commercial begins with a close up of the Google search bar and the following typed in: “How to not forget.” The narrator (an older gentleman) asks Google to remember the milestones and details about his life with his deceased wife. These include pictures and videos of the couple during special moments of their shared lives.

Some websites called Loretta ‘the most effective ad of Superbowl 2020’, while other, more cynical, critics lambasted it for being “scary” and dehumanizing for allowing Google to decide what happens with the pictures and videos of a loved one. Privacy issues aside, this ad is evidence that once a company reaches a certain peak, it places less of an emphasis on its products and more on its cultural impact.

Another example is yet another multi-billion-dollar company pulling on viewers heartstrings: Starbucks. The ad, ‘Every Name’s a Story’, follows a transgender (f to m) youth as he is repeatedly called by his old, birthname until finally having his name called out at Starbucks, as James. Starbucks released the following statement along with the commercial: “At Starbucks, writing your name on a cup and calling it out is a symbol of our warm welcome. It’s a small gesture, but it’s symbolic of what we believe in: Recognition and acceptance, whoever you are, or want to be. We welcome everyone.”

It’s poignant and touching, but for some it may feel cheap since, after all, it’s just a coffee company. That’s the power of emotional marketing. It taps into a singular emotion (like happiness, sadness, anger, or fear) to make an audience notice, remember, or share.

The objective with emotional marketing replaces the potential customer’s mindset of “I want to buy this” with “I want to support this company that shares the same values as me.” This can get into a murky area by just asking the extent of which the company cares and whether it’s just a front. Starbucks cements its position firmly by supporting Mermaids, “a charity supporting young transgender and gender diverse people and their families.”

Even if you’re not an established name like Starbucks or Google, emotions make a great first impression. Studies show that consumers are more likely to rely on emotions, rather than information when it comes to making a purchase. “Out of 1,400 successful advertising campaigns, those with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content.” (Source)


Alex Correa | Assistant Editor


cover image via Google



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