Which emotion does you brand trigger?

The most effective brands trigger consumers’ emotions, yet these powerful five are among the most difficult to create:


Why are animals so common in advertising? The reason is down to what Yale-coined term ‘cute aggression’. Cute aggression is the warm, happy feeling you get when something is so cute you can’t help but want to hug it. Tapping into our ingrained love of all creatures great and small make us happy. Advertising have been doing this for decades. From when Tony the Tiger first decided that flattened corn in a sugar overcoat wasn’t just OK. To Meerkats for motor insurance. Bears for biscuits, beer and bog roll.



From the Hovis boy pushing his bike up a hill to Microsoft’s Child of the 90s’ ad, we collectively love to look back. What advertisers have often found is that going back to when people were 16 is often the critical time when hard memories are formed. So playing music from that era is often highly effective.

Can you sing along to, A Finger of Fudge from the 1980s?


It’s known as Flow, that state when we achieve superhuman powers in high intensity often dangerous situations. However, for the majority of the time, it’s simply called fear. One campaign that captures this seeking flow was the campaign for Ozmosis. By challenging surfers and skaters to #PayWithPain, the brand was hyper-targeting exactly the kind of devil-may-care individual. A good excuse anyway to roll out the kind of heart-pounding imagery their sports are famous for. By challenging fears and promoting the edge, the brand reinforced its positioning at the heart of the sports it represented, and as such its campaign rang true.

NOTE: What’s interesting is anxiety and excitements are the same chemically, so our body can get confused. In fact, you can trick yourself into converting fear into flow.



Anger isn’t all bad! It is a strong emotion to bring about change when things aren’t right. Great for political change, great for a social change, but not great if you’re just selling cleaning products. Remember Cillit Bang’s fictional brand ambassador Barry Scott it might just be the shoutiest advert in history. Anger is a different story though and is easily triggered. Just watch how often a reporter will ask, ‘Did that make you angry?’. They just love to raise people’s emotions. Ads that trigger angry or annoyed emotions come in different formats. One such format is that ‘No win, no fee’ lawyers make you feel that you’ve been conned and is part of that ‘right to sue’ culture.


While angry could be said to be the fastest to create, love takes time. In fact, you have to go through a series of emotions to achieve love – from excitement to trust. No brand would say they don’t want trust, excitement and love to be the qualities they create in people. Yet we could go further than that and say brands should create these feelings over anger and frustration. Luckily there are six core emotions and over 150 subsequent feelings to choose from

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