Emotion Kicks Information’s Ass

Medical News Today: Consumers who are very skeptical about the truth of advertising claims are more responsive to emotionally appealing ads than ones peppered with information, according to a new study.
The finding comes from work by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Washington State University who examined consumers’ responses to advertising, including brand beliefs, responses to informational and emotional appeals, efforts to avoid advertising, attention to ads and reliance on ads versus other information sources.
As part of the study, researchers showed consumers eight television commercials, half of which were defined as emotional, half as informational. For example, an emotional ad for Ernest and Julio Gallo wine emphasized a familial atmosphere at the winery and surrounding vineyards, while an informational ad for Joy dishwashing liquid showed how effectively the product removed baked-on foods.
“Highly skeptical consumers have likely become skeptical over time, in response to numerous interactions in the marketplace that have led them to distrust ad claims. Advertisers have developed strategies for approaching these skeptical consumers, including using emotional appeals, whose success does not require acceptance of informational claims,” said co-author Doug MacLachlan, professor of marketing and international business at the UW Business School.

About David Burn

Native Nebraskan in the Pacific Northwest. Chief Storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • Nancy

    “ones peppered with information”
    Is that red, yellow, green, white or black pepper?
    They did consider color, right. Sociably and emotionably color matters in ads. Pigments in print and rays on screen.
    Did they do any research on how skeptical we have become of research that is highly skeptical?

  • http://www.acleareye.com Tom Asacker

    And guess what else? The world is round! 😉

  • http://www.americancopywriter.typepad.com American Copywriter

    Hmmm. Wonder where a certain creative director could lay his greedy hands on a copy of this study….

  • Carl LaFong

    Oddly enough, I’m just the opposite. If an advertiser is trying to appeal to my emotions, I tend to assume that they are lacking in substance and there is nothing special about their product or service. I’m not saying ads should aim for the head and not the heart. It’s more about striking the right balance: A few hard facts can make a soft sell more persuasive. But then, I’m a freak that way.

  • Nancy

    “The world is round” is an emotional appeal through wording. Please use the term spherical and limit that to the 3rd dimension.
    Which creative directors are greedy? I need facts. I need to know where I want not to go today.

  • http://rangelife.typepad.com seamus

    Emotion beats information at everything.

  • Carl LaFong

    Well, Seamus, that would explain why Bush beat Gore and Kerry.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Bush beat those guys?

  • http://www.johnniemoore.com/blog Johnnie Moore

    Hmmm… I can’t help feeling that this will be used to support a further chase to the bottom by admen. I wonder if the constant appeal to emotions contributes to declining overall credibility in a sort of tragedy of the commons…

  • http://msdarby.com Darby

    Actually, David, Bush did NOT beat those guys. He is merely a master thief.

  • Larry Flynt Jr

    I thought he was a master baker.