Emotion & Advertising

“Intellect and Emotion are partners who do not speak the same language. The intellect finds logic to justify what the emotions have decided. Win the hearts of the people, their minds will follow.”

– An Excerpt from The Wizard of Ads by Roy H. Williams

I first read The Wizard of Ads in 2008, and these were the words that stuck with me. Since then I have gained a real appreciation for advertising campaigns that create an emotional response.  Through creating an emotional response, regardless of what emotion it is,  you remove barriers that rationale places, and begin forming a relationship, a feeling, and a memory. How an advertisement makes you feel will be what you associate with that product or business.

A recent advertisement by Guinness has got the internet, marketing industry and business analysts buzzing. In an effort not to spoil the ad, I will allow you to watch it before I continue.

In an industry that is clouded by a blur of advertising featuring, women, parties, sports and more women. Guinness has stepped out of the crowd with this new advertisement, setting itself apart in a way only done by the iconic Budweiser Clydesdale ads that have become a Super Bowl ritual. Taking this creative approach works for two reasons:

It creates a strong emotional response. Even a jaded ad-man like myself got chills from this. You’d need a heart of stone to not be touched by the imagery created through the display of the friendship. We all wish we had, or were, this good of a friend.

It creates a strong, positive association to the brand. At the peak of the viewers response to the friends stepping out of the wheelchairs, the narrator says “Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.”  The ad closes with the tagline “Made of more” then the logo, closing the loop and forming the memory.

Now you’re probably thinking, sure it is a great advertisement but what has the result been? Well guess what it has been positive online, and in the stock market. On September 5th – the day that the ad launched – Diageo (NYSE: DEO) the company who owns Guinness was trading at $123.14 and as you can see, after 5 days of trading the stock has risen to over $125 per share. Factor in comments online like this, and it is clear that Guinness is winning the ever competitive beer war, and new customers.

Guinness Thank You

I can hear the comments now “That’s great, but my business doesn’t have millions to develop advertising like Guinness”. That is true, but it is also true that you do not need millions. Your product, or your business itself,  has something unique from your competition, the key is communicating that in a memorable way. Shortly after reading “The Wizard of Ads” I was working on a campaign with Fitness Focus, who at the time (2008) were feeling a lot of pressure in their industry from large gyms with multiple locations opening in Saskatoon. After many long discussions about how they operated, and what they did differently from their competition we found two things that stood out: No Contracts & Free Onsite Childcare . Now came the challenge came of how to communicate that in a memorable way to their target market. What you see here was the result.


fitness focus

Within days of this bus billboard running, they were getting comments about the campaign and that people were “seeing it everywhere”. The impressive thing is that it was not everywhere, in fact it was on a single bus roaming the city of Saskatoon. It seemed like it was everywhere, because it left an impact and was memorable. It was different than what the competition was doing, and was done for a fraction of what the competition was spending. Fitness Focus kept this same creative for nearly two years because it worked.

What sets your business apart and how are you communicating it to potential customers?