Look Before You Leap: Emotional Ads Gone Terribly Wrong

Recently, examples of emotionally charged ads, or “sadvertising,” have been showing up more prominently and prevalently.  Brands and Marketers around the globe are embracing the idea that you have a better chance at winning over a potential new customer if you can make them feel – if you can make them cry – with the stories your brands tell.

But a word of caution: manipulating emotion is dangerous business and even some of the biggest advertising agencies get it wrong.  And the consequences can be devastating.

Yes, many powerful ads do incorporate emotional tension. However, responsible ads must keep the historical and current context, as well as the audience’s values, beliefs, and attitudes in focus. The misguided ad from Feed a Child below illustrates this reality.