Emotions have been the marketing hot topic in 2017, with increasing and exciting evidence that emotionally engaging communication correlates with positive impact on sales. This correlation is intuitively plausible and creatively liberating, which is why this notion is heavily embraced by marketing and agencies. Moreover, it has rapidly given rise to a whole range of new tools designed to help marketers measure the emotional impact of their communication through, for example, facial expression, biometrics or EEG.

As much as we may be excited by the correlation and be naturally inclined to believe in the 'emotion is everything' narrative, we also know many confounding cases where 'they love the ad, but it is just not selling'. Take, for example, the much-lauded Budweiser Puppies ad which ran in the 2015 Super Bowl. According to Jorn Socquet, US VP for marketing at Anheuser-Busch InBev, while everybody loved the puppies, "they have zero impact on beer sales".

Rigorous scientific analysis provides a more precise understanding of emotions and of how exactly they relate to purchase decisions. In this article, we take a deeper look at the science of emotion, why emotional communication can help to sell and how emotions really relate to purchase decisions. This level of precision is important because, if marketing is ultimately about shaping behaviour in favour of our brands, the winners will be those who best understand the true dynamics of behaviour and how to use this to brief for effective communications.