Christmas is all about feelings — whether it makes you melancholy, ecstatic or exasperated.
And marketers are magnificently manipulative when it comes to tugging our tinsel-covered heartstrings.
But what is it about a good Yuletide ad that even makes Crimbo cynics weep into their mulled wine then reach for their wallets?
Read on to unwrap the magic of emotive ads.
The first sprinkle of festive fairy dust is empathy — we need to identify with the main protagonist and care about the dilemma they’re in. The short running time means this connection has to hit home faster than Santa sliding down a greased chimney.
There’s always something familiar about our hero or heroine and their Crimbo conundrum that we recognise in ourselves too.
And a skilled ad person can create emotional connection with unlikely characters — we care as much about Buster the Boxer and Kevin the Carrot as we do about human heroes.
An excellent emotive ad is as near to a full sensory experience as is possible through a TV, PC or mobile screen — and the best are so immersive you’ll find yourself slavering over the smell of mince pies.
Snow-cloaked townscapes might be a cliché but they’ve worked for everything from Guinness to Irn-Bru — and even beautifully-shot domestic scenes are effective. Visuals set the scene – whether the main action is a romantic meeting or a bit of a barny between siblings.
But perhaps nothing manipulates mood as much as music. A quirky cover of a classic tune or a contemporary tear-jerker effortlessly enhances the action — check out Apple’s Sway ad if you’re not convinced.
As we accumulate Christmas memories we heap on emotional significance like custard on a hot pudding.
We’re primed to unleash this nest-egg of nostalgia at this time of year, acting like Pavlov’s dogs in party hats whenever we hear a tune from when we were young or a sepia-tinged bundle of memories projected into our eyeballs.
Nostalgic ads are perfect at pushing our buttons — every adult that watches Moz the Monster by John Lewis gets a little taste of childhood Christmas excitement.
Everyone loves a good story — especially at Christmas.
And effective emotive ads can squeeze a nice narrative into a tight slot like satsumas stuffed into a Christmas stocking.
A simple three act structure works well — Amazon’s Give presents the problem, solution and payoff perfectly in under a minute – complete with cardboard boxes belting out a Supertramp classic.
The perfect formula for an emotive festive ad is harder to find than a squirrel’s secret nut stash — but just as tasty if it pays off.
What can emotive ads teach us about marketing?
- The human touch works well at Christmas — customers engage with empathy
- The right music creates pure magic
- Stick to a simple story told terrifically well.