Up Your Campaign Game: Get Emotional, Not Rational (Part 2)


The most profound effect on our actions, impact that makes a lasting impression and sets our future selves up to perform the same action again and again, stems from emotions, not logic. Emotions operate on an altogether different playing field than cognitive thinking.

Put simply, they knock it out of the park when it comes to effectiveness in advertising and brand building. Instead of appealing to higher minds, brands are hitting people right in the guts, using ads that invoke emotion and attempt to trigger a specific response. Sound a bit like manipulation? Well, it is. But it works. 

Emotional campaigns are really designed to “hit below the belt” so to speak. The effects of an ad campaign that stirs up emotion around a brand’s end goal will last longer and be infinitely more effective than a campaign that appeals to rationality. Provided of course, you hit on the right emotions. Telling an emotional story that resonates with your target market is an art. Miss the mark and those people may be left with a bad taste in their mouth. Get it right, and heart and wallet collide.

Best Emotions to Target with Emotional Ad Campaigns

Emotions aren’t actually so cut and dried. They tend to run on a spectrum, much like a color spectrum. There are different shades of happy, different shades of sad or mad, and many shades all in between. With that said, there are a handful of emotions that most experts agree are the core ones to aim for.


When we are happy, we tend to want to share the love. People mirror the happy they see and feel before them. Ever heard how feelings are contagious? It’s true. That’s why negativity can incite more negativity if not purposefully redirected into a more positive direction. In the same way, happiness and joy are infectious and begets more happiness and joy. When something makes us smile and feel good, we want to share it with others. So, content that stirs up feelings of happiness and spreads good vibes has the potential to go viral.


Sadness is an emotion that tends to inspire action and motivates people to help other people. It stirs up empathy and creates a connection that prompts them to want to do something about the situation they are empathizing with. Give them a way to act, a solution to the pain and sadness, and more often than not, they will.


Everyone feels fear on occasion. We live in a primarily fear-driven world. It can serve a purpose and prompt us to take action. Fear also tends to make us stay where we are comfy because it’s perceived as “safer.” This can be good for brand loyalty. Fear used in moderation, in the right way, can have a strong impact on your brand and your bottom line. However, fear is very complex and has to be used carefully lest you fall into the trap of fear-mongering and anger your audience instead of motivating them.


Speaking of anger, it can serve a purpose in your emotional campaigns too. Anger is strongly linked to passion, and passion inspires action. Anger can spark viral content just as easily as happiness can. Anger can be used to shake an audience up and instigate change. Some strategic businesses use anger as a way to highlight a problem with another brand and offer their own products or services as the solution.

There are numerous other emotions on the emotional wheel, none are black and white. However, tap into any of the above four, figure out what emotions best represent your brand and your goals, and create a thoughtful, targeted emotional campaign. A creative emotional campaign will help you bond with your audience in a more meaningful way and allow you to successfully grow your business over the long-term.

>>Check out Part One here

See Also:

How to Tell Your Brand’s Story

Marketing, Advertising, Branding  – What Does it all Mean?

Great Brands Don’t Convey: They Evoke

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