Emotional Advertising: How Brands Use Feelings to Get People to Buy


Studies show that emotional responses to ads are more influential on a person’s intent to buy than the content of the ad. Consumers are generally driven more by emotion than by logic. Advertisers use emotional advertising as a catalyst to steer sales. When used authentically emotional advertising allows consumers to effortlessly grasp and accept the advertising message.

Here are the 4 most targeted emotions successful advertisers use to make their brands more desirable:

Emotional Advertising: How Brands Use Feelings to Get People to Buy
Source: Forbes


Happiness is one the most used and most popular emotion used in emotional advertising. This is the go-to emotion advertisers use, you can’t go wrong when you use happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, and every one is drawn to positive content. Positivity has been shown to increase sharing and engagement, a study by the New York Times showed that positive posts were shared more than negative ones.


Another popular and frequently used emotion used in emotional advertising is sadness. The feeling of sadness is often used to evoke a sense of empathy or compassion. By using this emotion advertise play to what their consumers value rather than what they are selling. When advertisers create content that evokes empathy, consumers are more likely to take action.


Fear although widely considered a negative emotion but is still an essential emotion.  It helps us act to threats appropriately, increasing our chances of survival. In emotional advertising, the emotion is used to create a sense of urgency. Fear creates a sense of urgency which in turn prompts consumers to action.


Anger is an emotion you might not expect to see on this list because no one wants their audience to get angry whenever their ads are shown, but a lot of advertisers especially non-profits use this emotion to stir their audience to action. It can be a very compelling emotion when used appropriately. In emotional advertising, anger can also be used to spur people into action. When using anger in emotional advertising, advertisers often poise their product as a solution to their consumer’s source of anger. 

As effective as emotional advertising is to steer up sales and engagements, brands should be very cautious when using emotions, especially negative emotions. Brands should aim to respectfully enlighten their audience not manipulate.


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