The Science of Emotional Appeal Advertising

The Science of Emotional Appeal Advertising

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When it comes to emotions, you either control them or they control you.

Have you ever bought a product or service and then realized you had no need for it? We’ve all experienced this at some time.

According to survey results published by Statista, the major motivator for shoppers in the United States is the feeling of happiness. However, it’s only the tip of the emotional iceberg.

Emotional appeal advertising — emotions and social media

For instance, teenagers in the United States feel more confident, popular, and better about themselves when they use social media. 

If you run or advertise a business, there’s a good chance you’re lying in wait for when your target audience logs in to a social media app.

In some way, companies have never been selling products and services. 

Companies have always been selling emotions using emotional advertising. The definition of this marketing term is straightforward. However, if you want to find out what it means to sell emotions, you’ll see that there’s a whole story behind it.

What is Emotional Appeal Advertising?

Emotional appeal advertising urges customers to buy products and services by triggering emotions rather than awakening rational thoughts. 

In fact, it’s more than a technique. It’s a real science pushed by big corporations in order to understand the inner world of the average consumer. 

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For years, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Dove, and many other world-known brands have launched successful advertising campaigns based on data gained by professional diagnostic departments that are similar to those found in medical clinics.

Advertising scientists use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electrocardiogram (EKG), galvanic skin response (GSR), facial expression systems, and other neuroscientific (or dare we say neuromarketing) instruments to study the brain activity of consumers when seeing ads and demonstrations of products.

According to, an emotional approach in advertising is nearly twice as effective as a rational approach.

Emotional appeal advertising classification

In 1999, Nancy D. Albers-Miller and Marla Royne Stafford conducted an international analysis of the difference between rational and emotional appeals.

When it comes to classifications of emotional appeal, there are many types to distinguish among.

Essential Types of Emotional Appeal Ads

There are as many types of emotional appeal ads as there are human emotions.

In their article, Visme has collected 14 awesome emotional appeal advertising examples plus 9 examples of rational appeal advertising.

They classify emotional and rational appeal into the following categories:

  • Personal Appeal
  • Social Appeal
  • Humor Appeal
  • Fear Appeal
  • Sexual Appeal
  • Romantic Appeal
  • Endorsement Appeal
  • Youth Appeal
  • Popularity Appeal
  • Musical Appeal
  • Adventure Appeal
  • Empathy Appeal
  • Potential Appeal
  • Brand Appeal
  • Pain Solution
  • Scarcity Appeal
  • Testimonial Appeal
  • Contrasting Appeal
  • Status Appeal
  • Statistics Appeal
  • Beauty Appeal
  • Transparent Appeal
  • Natural Appeal

If you’re ready to suggest more emotions and feelings that can help boost conversions, share them in the comments below.

Now let’s look at more examples of ads that use emotional appeal along with the best practices for producing them.

3 Ideas to Come Up with a Perfect Emotional Appeal

Here are advertising techniques for an emotional appeal that your customers will admire.

Idea 1. Visualize Your Business Mission

Together with George Fullerton, Leo Fender built the first mass-produced electric guitar in 1948. Leo considered all artists angels. And he considered his job as giving them wings to fly.

Since then, Fender’s promotional campaigns have demonstrated the unbelievably high quality of their products.

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender quality

Another hallmark of the Fender brand is its all-purpose nature. Advertisers of the leading guitar manufacturer accentuate the customer’s ability to play music anytime and anywhere.

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender on the beach

For instance, Fender owners can bring their guitars to the beach, organize a concert for family and friends, and enjoy sunbathing.

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender surfing

After playing a few songs on the beach, they can ride the wave of a good melody without taking any intermission.

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender diving

Moreover, a Fender guitarist is able to go deep underwater, hunt some fish, and feed his audience not only music but also fresh seafood.

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender in the barbershop

After a concert, a Fender owner can bring his instrument to the barbershop and get his hair done while playing his favorite melodies…

Emotional appeal advertising — Fender with a dentist

… or visit the dentist and disinfect not only the cavities but also his Fender.

Put simply, do what Fender’s marketers do: use your emotional appeal ads to let people feel your passion for your product or service and see how it can make their lives better.

Idea 2. Support Your Customers and Combine a Few Emotions in One Ad

In one of the best emotional appeal commercials you could ever see, New Balance doesn’t make their product a means to an end.

Instead, they remind their customers about their strengths: You don’t need us to know you’re fast. Be fast!

A spectacular emotional appeal powered by a charismatic cast, sparky effects, and a powerful motto will make your customers feel like part of your family.

Talking of family, here’s one more ad that brings the right values to the viewer’s mind:

The New Balance advertising team mixes a few emotional appeals in one video: vision, respect, strength, fearlessness, game, winning, and independence.

You should do the same. That way your ad will become way more emotional.

Idea 3. Fan the Spark with Video Advertising

Here are two facts to consider.

Fact number one is that you already can imagine the emotional impact your video ads can make on your own audience from the two New Balance video ads we showed you above.

Fact number two is that customers are becoming more addicted to video. According to Cisco, nearly 82% of all traffic on the internet will be video content by 2022.

The sooner you test a video format for your advertisements using emotional appeal, the better.

And by the way, if you need even more emotional advertising examples, check out our Facebook video ad list that contains over 40 commercials that will help you come up with ideas for different appeals for your ads.

Use AI to Produce Emotional Ads

The major task for an advertisement that uses emotional appeal is to stimulate an emotional reaction.

We showed you how you can do that by taking advantage of your company’s mission, your customers’ strong points, and the video ad format.

We hope you’ve found this tutorial useful. Thank you for reading!

Don’t forget that you can test creating the Softcube Artificial Intelligence system to produce your emotional ads. Have fun, and good luck!