Passion Communications

In a Battle to the Death, Emotional Marketing Wins

A Classic Example

For better or worse, we live in a society that loves labels and categorization. And one of the most polarizing questions of all time is the inquiry of Coke or Pepsi. Most people have an answer to this before the asker even finishes their sentence. However, contrary to what you may believe, the answer is not all about taste. A research study(about emotional marketing) performed by Baylor College of Medicine found that in a blind taste test, Pepsi was preferred over Coca-Cola. made this find They made this find by studying the ventral putamen, which is the part of your brain that recognizes rewards.

This makes sense since Pepsi is the sweeter drink between the two. But then, Baylor College gets thrown for a loop. When participants were told which beverage they were drinking, 75% of them said they preferred Coca-Cola. And the numbers of soft drink industry seems to back these findings up. In regards to carbonated beverages, Coke’s market share is approaching 18%, while Pepsi’s is dropping from over 10% to roughly 8%. The answer lies in emotional marketing.

What comes to mind when you think about Coke? Perhaps it’s fond memories of family members or images of icons sipping Coke in your favorite movie scenes. Scientists proved that consuming Coke activates parts of the brain that process emotions, memory, and cognitive control. (Goldsmith) “Past ad campaigns such as “It’s the Real Thing,” “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke,” and “Have a Coke and Smile” have possibly resonated more positively with consumers than Pepsi’s marketing, which has concentrated more on aligning that brand with, as it turned out, ill-advised celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Britney Spears.” (Vinayak)

Samuel M. McClure, Pioneer of Neuro Marketing

The Power of Emotional Marketing

Soft drinks aside, we’re here to discuss the power of emotional marketing. At Passion Communications, we hold the firm belief that when all product and environment elements are equal, emotional marketing wins. This is because experiencing an emotion evokes behavioral responses, physiological reactions, and subjective feelings from people. The chain of reactions a human’s emotions make them feel can affect decision making. Should a marketer properly harness the power of emotion in their marketing, this decision may be a purchase decision. A study conducted by a pair of university researchers, Mai Ngoc Khuong and Vu Ngoc Bich Tram, showed that emotional marketing specifically has the largest impact on brand recognition, but also plays a role in brand preference and brand loyalty.

They recommend that to get the best effect when constructing marketing campaigns, companies should implement emotional marketing into their images, symbols, and branding to make it more honest and transparent. This also makes the advertising experience unique to the individual consumers, because different people will respond differently to emotional marketing based on their past experiences and personalities. (Khuong & Tram)

An Experiment

Ignore your parental figures for a moment, and let’s bring politics into business. Think about these three topics: the transgender community, feminism, and climate change. Answer these questions: how do you feel about these topics, and how do you feel about people who disagree with you? …Good. Now, think about something unrelated, like, Heineken beer. How do you feel about Heineken as a company and their beverage as a product?

In five minutes, you may feel differently.

Regardless of who you are, you likely have a strong opinion on these three controversial subjects. And you’re not alone. Most people take polarizing sides either supporting or fighting these topics and have emotionally driven responses to the subjects when they come up. Heineken, a Nordic brewing company, recognized this. And instead of sweeping these emotions under the rug, they decided to combine them all into one advertisement. This involved making people feel uncomfortable, but the results were astonishing.

Take four and a half minutes to watch this video, then think about the ways in which emotional marketing affects you.

How to Put Your Audience in their Feels

For emotional marketing to be most effective, companies have to challenge the emotional boundaries of their audiences. There are an infinite amount of creatives ways to do this. If you want, your marketing goal can be to make your audience reach for the tissues, (looking at you MetLife “My Father is a Liar“). Likewise, you could choose to make them laugh out loud like Doritos does, or smack them in the face with nostalgia in family car company fashion.

Next time you’re thinking about your next marketing campaign, think about how you can turbocharge it to evoke human feelings and do it boldly. Then, sit back and watch the brand recognition, preference, and loyalty of your customers improve.

Thanks for the read! If you liked this article, check out this one about neuromarketing next.


Written by: Victoria Kline