5 Brilliant Commercials That Elicit Positive Emotion

March 25, 2011

Well, it’s Friday, and if you feel like I do, you probably want to ride out the rest of the day on YouTube. I don’t encourage or condone that behavior (especially if you’re a member of my staff… hint hint…), but in the interest of education, here are 10 of my favorite advertisements that use or play on emotion to yield a better response.

In marketing we talk about how a product is positioned. It can be positioned for it’s attributes (Features, Pricing, Performance), or for it’s associations¹. These advertisements are ALL about the associations of the product; rather than going the easy route and sticking to humor (how many thousands of ads have you seen that do this?), they tug at your heart strings and really draw you to the product. Take note of the fact that product features are never mentioned, much less emphasized.

Apple: “Meet Her”

Well, you can’t well have a post about great advertising without Apple topping the list. Indeed, I could probably fill this post with emotionally inspiring Apple ads – the 1984 ad, any of the “Think Different” ads. Apple has it right, for sure – letting you know that FaceTime will help you better connect with your family and make amazing milestones even better – without having to tell you.

BMW: “We Didn’t Set Out to Play Games”

Incredible. This advertisement still moves me – and not just because we attend the car show featured in it every year. Truly incredible advertising that manages to express gratitude and pride at the same time.

Google: “Parisian Love”

Beautiful advertisement that really tugs on the heart strings. Google effectively inserts itself into this adorable love story, showing viewers how Google is there as they grow, and supports them in every stage of their lives. Awesome.

Apple: “Think Different”

Apologies. I really couldn’t resist. What a tremendously inspiring ad. Although, this ad is probably much too bold to fly today.

Volkswagen: The Force

An adorable commercial, but one you have probably already seen. This ad associates the new Passat with family men, and also a sense of fun.

Alright – now get back to work!

¹Credit for teaching me this goes to Professor Robinson of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business

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