Emotion



Exhibit 22.7   “Embrace Life — Always wear your seat belt” campaign by The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership.

Embrace life! It may take a moment or two to appreciate the beauty of the tag line. With it’s embrace, the seat belt saves lives. And what could more powerfully symbolize the embrace of life, than the arms of your wife and daughter.

A few years back, this video (Exhibit 22.7) depicting an ordinary family enacting a driving accident in their sitting room became an internet sensation. No words were uttered in this slow motion 88-second clip that left close to 20 million viewers with a moving reminder to wear their seat belts.

The campaign by The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership taps into our emotions to stimulate and arouse attention. The intensity of the emotional charge leaves images and feelings that penetrate our long term memory. Metaphors and symbols exalt the seat belt. The depiction of ordinary folk in an ordinary home, combined with the simplicity of the plot, make viewers relate with ease.

As humans we experience a wide range of emotions that affect our mood, disposition and motivation. According to David Meyers, emotions fundamentally involve “physiological arousal, expressive behaviours, and conscious experience”. They could be basic, such as happiness, security and love; or social, such as success, pride, guilt or envy.

Advertising taps these diverse emotions to penetrate our memory associating brands with positive or negative emotional states. The embrace life ad for instance, taps into feelings of love, tenderness, caring, fear, anxiety, shock and relief. The Liril girl advertisement (Exhibit 22.0) evokes the sense of freedom, hedonism and pleasure. Some advertisements reflect ecstasy and euphoria. Others dwell on fear or sorrow. Historical advertisements of Bajaj (“Hamara Bajaj”), the Indian scooter brand, and the Australian icon, Vegemite (“He’s doing his bit for his Dad …” [wartime ad]), tap into viewers’ sense of national pride.

By infusing deep feelings, these advertisements build emotional bonds that greatly increase consumers’ affinity towards the brand. It is a form of classical conditioning; the brand starts to represent those moods, feeling or emotions that it is associated with through advertising.

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