Do Emotions in Advertising Drive Sales?: Use of facial coding to understand the relation between emotional ads and sales effectiveness

Daniel McDuff
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rana El Kaliouby
Evan Kodra
Northeastern University
Laurent Larguinet


It is now widely accepted that human emotions play a significant role in driving our decisions, from the type of content we watch to the products and services we buy (LeDoux 2002; Damasio 1994). Physiological changes in our heart rate, posture, facial expression and voice convey emotion responses to the world around us. These responses are encoded in the System 1 brain circuit, the automatic and largely emotional processing system of the brain. When making decisions, our past and current emotion experiences bias our decision-making subconsciously, making emotions an important influencer on our decisions (Loewenstein and Lerner 2003).