Emotions in Advertising

Research from System1 Group



recently shared a presentation with thinkTV on their research findings on emotions in advertising.


The study argues that emotion is the most rational thing you can use in effective advertising because “we think less than we think we think” and “the more you feel, the more you buy”.

Through a series of tests on nearly every ad that runs in the US and UK, System1 uses behavioural science to determine the effectiveness of ads.


For example one of the studies translates the 7 core human emotions - contempt, surprise, anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, neutral - to market share gains by looking at how emotion in an ad campaign translates to actual market share for that brand within the year following. They created a 5-star rating system to determine how market share gain was distributed.


They’ve tested 43,000 ads over the last 4 years and they’ve learned that effective advertising comes down
to 5 things:

Emotion - speaking to the heart

Story arc - telling the story

Soundtrack - soundtrack has the ability to transform what people feel about what they’re watching

Fluent Device - brand recognition speeds decision making

Characters - we all need something or someone to cheer for


Check out the presentation here to learn more


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