Let me confess something: I bought my first car because of a commercial. It was never a question of gas mileage or all-wheel drive. I didn’t care about horsepower or reliability or safety features or any of the other things people usually consider when making the Great Car Decision. For me, the only thing that mattered was the dreamy sight of some friends in a Volkswagen Cabrio cruising along windy roads at night while Nick Drake crooned the somewhat nonsensical but no less captivating lyrics to “Pink Moon”. That’s all it took. They had me.
When the commercial debuted, I was 12 and ready to take my piggy bank to the nearest dealership. Six years later, with my license finally in hand, I ended up doing just that.
This is the commercial, in case you were curious.
AdWeek perfectly described the magic of this particular commercial when they wrote, “Watching the spot was like taking a yoga breath. For a lowly commercial (that most disposable of media), the stirring undergroundish music and unexpected action seemed to draw on something permanent from the soul.”
That there, ladies and gentlemen, is the power of good creative marketing. Yes, it’s also the tale of someone who’s extremely susceptible to excellent visual storytelling, but the point remains. A good soul-stirring story can sell a product just as effectively – if not more so – than good logic.
Don’t believe me? fMRI neuro-imagery reveals that consumers primarily use emotions to evaluate brands rather than facts. According to research from Psychology Today, “the emotional response to an ad has far greater influence on a consumer’s reported intent to buy a product than does the ad’s content – by a factor of 3-to-1 for television commercials and 2-to-1 for print ads.” Note how there’s an increased intent to buy, and presumably an increased emotional response, when the ad is presented as a video.
It’s because the best told stories engage their audiences through multiple senses. Imagine the Volkswagen commercial without the whooshing driving sounds set against “Pink Moon” or without the sweeping overhead shots of the car gliding through a blue-lit night. It’s those rich sounds and moving visuals that really tell the story of four young people enjoying their journey more than the destination.
Bringing Video Beyond the TV Spot
Not too long ago, AdAge raised the issue that digital marketing has seemingly left behind its emotional roots. “The problem,” they say, “is that digital advertisers have forgotten a key tenet that advertisers in the 1950s and 1960s understood: The goal of advertising is not to convince people, or make them think something. It's to make them feel something.”
Granted, we’ve moved a long way from the days when people actually watched TV commercials. Marketing communication largely occurs in inboxes, across social feeds and in bite-sized pre-roll ads. Blame it on shorter attention spans or the noisier atmosphere of competing messages, but some brands have made the mistake of cutting emotion out of the equation in favor of bursts of information that fail to drive any sort of meaningful connection.
First of all, employing a video strategy directly improves information recall -- 90% of information is taken in visually, and ideas learned through video communication are retained 68% more effectively than text. But what’s more, video extends the unique opportunity for a brand to humanize itself. Whether you’re putting a face on Chatbots or adding some (literal) life to your on-boarding process, including a human face and voice when building brand-consumer relationships should not be underestimated.
Cadbury did an excellent job of leveraging video to build emotional connections when they launched their Cadbury Glow Personalized Video campaign. The goal of the campaign was to introduce Cadbury Glow chocolate as a gift-able item in a new market. The challenge then became, how do you associate chocolate with feelings of thoughtfulness, warmth and closeness?
The answer, Cadbury found, was in giving people the opportunity to send a Personalized Video story alongside their gifted Cadbury Glow chocolates. Users could input the name of the recipient, upload their own unique photos and even write an individualized message to appear on a card, all of which were natively integrated within the video. Below is an example of what one of the Personalized Videos looked like…
You can read about the whole campaign here, but results heavily reflected the emotional impact this campaign had. 90% of viewers were engaged and watched their video to completion, and a 33% conversion rate was achieved for the whole campaign. The positive feelings recipients felt towards the sender of their video also extended to the Cadbury brand. Not only was this a heartfelt gesture from a loved one, it was a really cool and surprising bit of personalized storytelling delivered by a brand they now associated with the happy moment.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is to avoid disregarding emotion as frivolous when it comes to marketing. Being able to tell an emotionally-charged story in a visual way greatly impacts consumer perception, their drive to purchase as well as their likelihood to form a connection that turns into long term loyalty.