Does this ad make you cry?

How many times have you laughed, cried or even exploded with surprise after watching an ad? Successful advertisements are stories which can evoke strong emotional connection between the brand and its audiences.

This ad has inspired me this whole week.

A couple months ago, Panasonic spread it on Youtube and social media to target Vietnamese customers in big cities. The message about love, sharing and connection is clear. However, at the same time, it also evokes a beautiful feeling of our childhood. Many of my friends say they smiled happily watching scenes which are so familiar with their childhood memories.

You know, the majority of Vietnameses living in big cities departed from poor villages. We left our hometown to join the fierce competition in big cities, dreaming for a chance to change our lives. However, while struggling to survive there, we can’t stop dreaming of our peaceful childhood back home. Panasonic ad gives us a miracle ticket to come back to our childhood. During that journey, we see how Panasonic fan have appeared and become a part of our lives since we were a child. Then, Panasonic fan is not just a normal fan anymore. It becomes an emotional shortcut to our childhood and it satisfies our thirst for inner peace.

Kotler and Armstrong (2013, cited in Mogaji 2016, p.4) argue that “emotional appeal targets the consumer’s psychological, social or symbolic needs, aiming to stir up feelings and bring into play an affection mechanism that will ultimately motivate the consumer to purchase the advertised product.” This explains how Panasonic succeeds in using customer insights to shape their advertising strategy, which can both stir up customers’ psychological need and build strong emotional connection between the brand and its target audience.

Advertising is seduction… It’s more manner than matter” (Newman 2003, p.36). That’s why we need to think of our target audiences as people with fear, aspirations, emotions and experiences. The emotional appeal of a successful ad comes from the right choice of verbal and visual cues (Turley & Kelley 1997, cited in Mogaji 2016, p.4).

However, how emotions are being aroused and what is the mechanism to do that?

Poels and Dewitte (2006, cited in Mogaji 2016, p.5) have identify two ways of measuring emotional responses, which can be practical techniques for marketers to measure their ads’ emotional effectiveness.

Self-report: This method involves asking participants to express their feelings toward an advertisement. For example, they can describe how happy or how sad they are with the ads. A checklist, set of rating scales a verbal protocol are used to navigate their answers.

Autonomic: This is a technologically driven method. It uses neuroscience equipment to observe customers’ autonomic reactions like facial expressions (e.g. frowning or smiling) or psychological reactions (e.g. sweating) while watching the ads.

Both have pros and cons. Autonomic is more expensive but can provide reliable result. Self-report is easy to conduct but sometimes can’t provide objective result because some respondents don’t know how to describe exactly their feelings.

Emotional responses are complicated and need to combine various research methods to achieve precise result. However, learning the mechanisms to create emotional appeal is no longer a “nice to have” but a crucial requirement for the success of advertisements in this era.

Let’s think of our target audiences as living, beating hearts. Our mission is simply to raise that pulse rate!


Mogaji, E 2016, ‘This advert makes me cry: Disclosure of emotional response to advertisement on Facebook’, Cogent Business & Management, vol. 3. no.1, pp.1-19.

Newman, M & Saatchi & Saatchi 2003, Creative Leaps : 10 Lessons in Effective Advertising Inspired at Saatchi & Saatchi.


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