Insights from the IPA Effectiveness Awards 2012: Tapping into the nation's dreams - The power of emotion in driving effectiveness

Marie Oldham

Browse all the 2012 IPA Effectiveness Awards case studies

The decline of the stiff upper lip

Chris Hoy does it, Andy Murray did it and even the Queen did it in 2012: Great Britain is busy reconnecting with our emotions and shedding a tear in public is no longer seen as weak or embarrassing. The post credit crunch world has seen the re-emergence of family values, a focus on supporting local business and creating support networks to inform everything from our parenting styles, where we go on holiday or where to get the best value car insurance.

'Reality TV' has moved on from Big Brother and we now want to see personal histories unfold on Who Do You Think You Are?, we are inspired by Mo Farah's story and John Bishop's tears as he cycled for Sports Relief gaining an audience of 6 million and 391,000 Facebook likes. Who could have predicted that the nation would respond to the tragic death of Claire Squires during the London Marathon by actively visiting a stranger's fundraising page; over 64,000 people collectively donating £1m plus. Like it or loathe it, Facebook and Twitter offer us an outlet for emotional outpouring, whether it is to comment on a human tragedy, shame a banker into resigning or salute a hero. Anyone who witnessed the singing volunteers at the Olympics, or the sweeping brush-toting residents of London who cleaned up after the 2011 riots can see that Great Britain is no longer the home of the stiff upper lip.

Equally, we are starting to realise that the spend, spend, spend years of the 80s and 90s may have clouded our view of what's really important and that wanting your children to succeed in life is a deeper human motivation than wanting to have the most expensive car in your street.

Getting beneath the skin of consumers