Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Special K "Your time to shine" use the right approach

Sometimes your creative agency will suggest that you scare the customers to come to your brand. We see this of course when it comes to alcohol or drunk driving, where catastrophic pictures is a part of advertising, but it is also used by other brands. The advertiser wish to evoke an emotional response, and try to do so by using fear as a trigger.

This is a destructive approach, that will lead to people associating your brand with the emotion you wake up within them. Research on dating has shown that people get interested in dates when they talk about travelling, which makes people remember wonderful scenery and relaxing times, while people lose interest in each other if they talk about movies, where the gender difference can disturb the harmony between the two love seekers. And don´t we all know that topics like politics or religion are better left untouched...?

Studies from the research company Millward Brown prove that emotional ads both make us more aware of a brand and more involved in its message. “The ads that evoke the least positive response (i.e., are disliked) are more memorable than those which fall into the middle ground, and those which elicit positive emotions become progressively more memorable.” This means that you can reach high awareness by evoking strong emotions, whether positive or negative. Emotionally powerful ads that people like are more memorable, and when an ad is memorable and emotional it generates more sales.

However, it is always better to create commercial messages that people fancy. Ads that people like are almost twice as likely to see a sales effect, compared to ads that people don´t like. Even if this is not the same as what kind of feelings people get in general (not about the ad itself) it is still telling.

Professor Arjun Chaudhuri has, in his research for the book ”Emotion and Reason in Consumer Behaviour”, proven that fear or anger are emotions negatively related to ads being liked or products purchased. So called “pro-social affects” like happiness, love, bonding, attachment, nurturance and hope, were strongly related to positive evaluation, liking and buying.
Researchers at Millward Brown, the company behind the research, write: “Ads that evoke positive emotions tend to have a more positive effect on the brand.”

The basic universal emotions – anger, joy, surprise, disgust, sadness and fear (defined by Paul Ekman in the 1970´s) – are different in how they make us behave. If we are feeling happy, angry or disgusted we become active, while customers who are surprised, scared or sad get paralysed and are not willing to open their wallets, instead choosing status quo. Aim to in your marketing and operations evoke active, positive feelings.

My concept Love Branding is definitely about giving the market good vibes, evoking joy rather than fear. I know that you can spook people into relationships by saying they will be lonely without it, or that their partner will start crying if they leave, but that is not a good base for a long term loving commitment.

A great example is the Special K campaign "It´s your time to shine" inspiring with beauty rather than scaring with people who can´t fit into their jeans.

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