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Ads should hit the heart

This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet

Executive Summary

Advertisers should craft their ads around creativity and emotion and not factual content to build strong brand relationships, a study published in the December issue of Journal of Advertising Research finds. Robert Heath, School of Management, University of Bath, UK, worked with research firm OTX to assess the rational and emotional content of 23 on-air ads in the U.S. and 20 in the UK. They then surveyed 200 people in each country to gauge their responses to the featured brands. "The results confirm that favorability towards brands is strongly correlated with emotional content in advertising, but not with factual content," Heath states. Content-driven messages fade faster than those recommended via emotional meta-communication, he says, noting that subtle emotional elements are more likely to work "because the viewer has less opportunity to rationally evaluate, contradict and weaken their potency." Also, "high attention weakens the effect of emotional content," so ads might be more effective "processed at lower levels of attention"...
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