In this digital age, with the fast development of global economics, companies are using various techniques and ideas to advertise their products or brands. Globally, people are living in a mass advertising world.

Therefore, to break through the clutter, much work should be done for advertisers to find the most appropriate way to improve advertising effectiveness.

The main objective of advertising is to attract more attention from customers to the products or the companies and to build closer relationships with more people.

In today’s advertising world, people are tired of, or even scared of seeing any commercial in daily life.

For example, one paper, the title of which is ‘Anywhere the Eye can See, It’s Likely to See an Ad’, reported that people in America were living in 4000 commercials every day.

Therefore, attracting attention from customers seems to be a particularly difficult task for advertisers.

What is Effective Advertising?

Effective advertising should not only focus on the functional information of the products but also be meaningful, distinctive and more emotionally engaging, such as delivering love and happiness to the targeted customers.

  • Strong emotions in commercials can influence customers’ mental side and brain activities to a significant extent.
  • This can help companies attract more attention and improve the recall of advertisements.

Among all kinds of emotional factors in advertising, such as intimacy, mystery or trust, love has the strongest influence on purchase intention, which can help brands have a much closer relationship with their customers.

‘Loyalty cannot be bought for money, but it can be for love’ 

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Nowadays, to capture the hearts of people, television and online video commercials have been developed to be like a short movie or show with attractive plot and music to deliver love, which can be classified into the format of storytelling.

Story Telling in Video Advertising

Storytelling in video advertising is one of the most creative emotional advertising strategy, which means presenting a story which is linked with customers’ life in commercials.

  • This kind of strategy can effectively make customers remember the brand name because, after watching the commercials, people will create a new meaning of the brand at an emotional level.
  • Furthermore, advertisements with strong emotions and warm stories have drawn much attention successfully.

For example, John Lewis, a chain of a famous brand department store, have invested much money on video commercials, with pithy narrative and emotional ending, at each Christmas since 2007.

In 2012, after launching its Christmas advertising which tells a story about the journey of a snowman, John Lewis won the Grand Prix at the IPA’s 2012 Effectiveness Awards and was regarded as a department store which can create the best video commercials in the world.

As its Chief Strategy Officer, Marie Oldham said, the success of the video advertisements is from the emotional core of the idea.


Furthermore, although advertisements are considered to be intrusive and deceptive widely, customers are desired to watch the video commercials that John Lewis launched every year.

Therefore, people’s attitudes toward emotional video advertisements seem to be different from attitudes toward general ones, which is worth researching in-depth.

Furthermore, studies focusing on emotional video advertising strategy seem to be few and, especially in recent years, the number of studies in this field has been very limited.

More specifically, even though it is clear that some companies got a big success by using emotional commercials, people’s attitudes toward it is still unclear.

Therefore, there is a need to do research on this subject specifically to fill the research gap in this area.

 Television and Online Video Advertising Strategy

With today’s fast development of advertising media, such as TV channels, newspapers, radio stations, and the Internet, customers are exposed to a mass advertising world and selecting media tends to be more complicated for advertisers.

Nowadays, in this digital age, television commercials can also be played and spread widely on the internet, which brings benefits for companies that utilize television commercials.

Television combines sight, sounds, and motions and it has a large population of the audience, which makes television to be one of the most effective media nowadays.

Different from printed or radio advertising, video commercials can provide more entertainment value for their audience. Television can make advertisements more attractive, lively and lifelike.

Therefore, most companies, especially major ones like Nike, KFC or McDonald’s prefer to choose television to be the medium of their commercials to establish a wide and good relationship with people.

Emotion in Online Video Advertising

Moreover, benefiting from the increasing development of the internet nowadays, television commercials can also be spread through online media globally.

Watching online videos seems to be a mainstream activity nowadays. It has been reported that seven in ten adults (69%) commonly use the Internet to watch videos and the proportion of Internet users who use sharing sites, such as YouTube and Google Video, has increased from 33 percent in 2006 to 61 percent in June 2009.

Therefore, it is a good opportunity for companies to take advantage of online video advertisements to advertise their products and brands. In addition, television and online video advertising will be classified to be the same format, video advertising.

Furthermore, compared to other media tools, the budget for making a video advertisement is much larger. However, there is no doubt that not all television or online video commercials are popular and effective.

Therefore, to make it worth to invest so much money in video advertising, advertisers should find the most appreciated way to create their commercials.

Emotion in Online Video Advertising

The Journal of Psychology defines emotion as a complex state of feelings, which routinely results in physical and psychological changes that influence both thought and behavior.

According to the Journal, emotion is always associated with a broad range of physical phenomena including mood, personality and motivation levels among others, essentially because it exerts an incredible force on human behaviour.

Emotion is so universal and critical for how one perceives the world that it becomes necessary to view emotion in a new way to interpret it scientifically.

As such, every emotional response, from love to hate, fear to joy, and everything in between, can be summed up as purely physiological responses to environmental events that serve to motivate away from harm and toward the reward.

The demand for the products and services of a specific organization heavily relies on the level of impact that the company’s messaging can bring out.

In as much as cultural beliefs, experiences and the values consumers harbour play an important role on the brands they settle on, the difference in the sales of brands such as BMW and Audi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, as well as Nike and Knitwear, for example, is heavily influenced by personal impulses.

Moreover, the impulses are brought about by the feelings that consumers have for a specific brand over the other.

In that regard, it is imperative to note that organizations that emotionally connect with their consumers register high sales, whereas those that are unable to strike a strong bond, are prospective to register low sales.

Emotion in Advertising

Emotional marketing has been steadily on the rise over the past few years, because it has established a strong bond between consumers and specific brands and products in recent decades, which is usually brought about by the emotions in video advertisements.

Early in 1925, the researcher, Strong, has introduced the earliest commercial model AIDA, which stands for the advertising process which starts with drawing attention(A), then maintains interest(I) and creates desire(D), finally generates action/ behaviour (A).

In this model, Strong regarded emotion (desire) in advertising not so important, because he thought desire occurred only after customers paid attention and had interest in commercials.

However, since the 1980s, advertisers have gradually recognized the importance of emotion in advertising.

Emotion should be ranked the first in advertising and an important mediator of interest and purchase action to advertising.

It is emotion but not cognition or rationality can guide the attention process of television audiences when watching commercials.

Furthermore, in the last decade, it has been emphasized that the process when people are deciding which brands to buy is affected by emotion-based dimension heavily.

Emotional advertisement is of great significance, as it employs non-verbal cues of communication to drive its message home.

Therefore, according to the research mentioned above, emotion in advertising seems to have a positive influence on customers’ attention and buying behaviors.

Except for attention and purchase intention, emotion can also lead to recall of advertisements.

In the past several decades, some researchers have evidenced that highly emotional advertising can enhance recall for both the commercials and the brands to a significant extent.

 Although customers commonly do not make the purchase decision at the time of watching the products’ commercials, the memory of the advertising can indeed influence customers, which further evidenced that emotion can influence purchase intention immediately.

Furthermore, recall is correlated to positive emotion significantly (such as pleasure and humour), but seem not to be related to negative or unfavorable emotions (such as anger or scare).

Therefore, commercials that adopt positive emotion are likely to be more effective.

Online advertising with entertainment elements is popular in web users, which can usually affect customers’ emotions.

Commercials that are more engaging, entertaining and lighthearted can hold more customers’ attention.

commercial advertising

In recent years, to make audience not to regard advertising as a form of intrusion, video commercials have been developed to be more like a short movie or show, which tells an attractive story or embeds a fantastic song singing by a popular music.

The kind of music, motion and stagecraft employed in a video advertisement heavily determines the kind of reception the product receives within the market.

Emotional advertisements, most of which usually deliver love and happiness. For example, McDonald’s launched a series of TV advertisements to popularize its campaign ‘I’m loving’ it’, which told several funny and heart-warming stories but did not advertise its hamburgers and chips.

Meanwhile, John Lewis also has been committed to create this kind of commercials every Christmas since 2007, which has helped this company attract much attention globally.

Pride and love are some of the sensations that emotional advertisements bring about. For example, pride comes about when a consumer is associated with high-end products such as driving the latest model of the Tesla or the BMW electric car.

Additionally, a consumer is likely to harbor the feeling of love when he or she comes across the 2014 John Lewis Christmas advert, ‘Monty the Penguin’.

Similarly, video advertisements that bring out the feelings of loneliness, friendship and memories are likely to enjoy a considerable share of the market, particularly because research has often suggested that consumers find the products whose adverts bring out the humanity of human kind appealing.

Therefore, it seems emotion in advertising seems to be an effective way to capture audience attention.

Product satisfaction is the biggest driver of emotional response. A campaign example from the Unilever, ‘Dirt Is Good’, which did not advertise the cleaning power of Persil but implicitly told people to trust the brand.

Persil had taken many years to establish its positive image on functional credentials with explicit campaign like ‘Persil Washes Whiter’, so they could communicate its informational message implicitly.

That is to say, if customers do not think Persil can clean clothes effectively, the emotional advertising would not make people feel love and pride.

Therefore, compared with big brands like Persil and Coca-Cola, new brands should focus on informational or functional messages communicating with customers, which provides a fresh idea to this area and will be taken into consideration and researched in this study.

Measuring Attitudes and Emotional Response to Advertising

In the past several decades, attitudes toward advertising have been researched widely.

Attitude toward commercials is one of the traditional measures of advertising effectiveness.

Therefore, studying attitudes toward advertising seems to be an important task for advertisers, because it is the way to know customers’ responses to any particular commercials.

Early in 1967, Fishbein defined attitude as ‘a learned predisposition of human beings’ (P.53).

Lutz in 1985 defined it as a ‘pre-disposition to respond in a favourable or unfavorable manner to a particular advertising stimulus during a particular exposure occasion’ (p. 143).

After that, Kotler (2000) simply described attitude to be an emotional response, personal evaluation and action intention to some objects.

To measure people’s attitudes toward the advertisements, four variables have been widely used in several studies before 2000, which are good-bad, like-dislike, uninteresting-interesting, and irritating-not irritating.

Several important variables to measure people’s attitudes toward advertising will be taken into consideration in methodology, which are:

a) Advertising Likability

Among the four variable, commercial liking has been recognised to be the most important.

There exist a very strong relationship between the likeability and its effects on brand attitudes and sales.

It has been argued that there is a strong correlation between liking and attention, liking and buying intention, and liking and entertainment value.

In 2004, a similar view was taken by Young, which argued that commercial liking is related to attention-getting power and driving purchase intent power to a significant extent.

Commercial liking is related more to whether an advertisement generates relevant thoughts and emotions in the consumer than it is to its entertainment value’.

That is to say, people prefer the commercials which have similar thoughts and emotions with them.

The rate of advertising likability is useful when measuring people’s emotional responses to a commercial. Therefore, commercial liking seems to take an important role when measuring both people’s attitudes and emotional responses to advertising.

b) Credibility

Credibility can be defined as ‘the believability of the addressor and its perception in the listener’s mind’.

Its people’s perception of the ‘truthfulness, reliability, trustworthiness and believability’ of an advertisement.

In today’s mass of advertising world, the credibility of a commercial seems to depend on various kinds of factors, such as companies’ believability or the people who are advertising the products.

Furthermore, most television advertisements were considered to be deceptive and misleading.

Therefore, comparing with general commercials, whether emotional video advertising is considered to be credible or not is indeed worth researching, which is important for advertisers.

c) Pleasure

Emotion like pleasure and humor can strongly affect the recall of advertisements positively.  Among all the kinds of emotions, pleasure reactions have a bigger impact on attitudes toward advertising because it can help companies engage more attention.

Advertising, especially television commercials, can be regarded as a source of pleasure. Most people would like to see advertisements with the pleasure of a high level.

Similarly, people prefer to look for entertainment from the internet. In addition, pleasure can be regarded as a measurement of a commercial’s entertainment value.

Therefore, whether the emotional video advertising brings pleasure to customers is also important to some extent.

d) Social Image

The objective of commercials is not only advertising the material products, but also the brands to establish a good relationship with customers.

Thus, many companies usually portray a kind of lifestyle and establish a brand image in their commercials.

However, it is surprising to find that ‘social image has a negative effect on general attitudes to advertising’.

Therefore, when measuring people’s emotional response to emotional video advertisements, the social image should be adopted and analyzed in-depth.

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