Emotional Engagement: How Television Builds Big Brands At Low Attention

This article proposes a new definition for engagement that is independent of attention. Engagement is defined as “the amount of subconscious ‘feeling’ going on when an advertisement is being processed.” An “emotional engagement” model is developed that shows how strong brands can be built without the need for the high levels of attention that advertising usually demands.

Emotional Engagement: How Television Builds Big Brands At Low Attention

Robert HeathUniversity of Bath School of Management


The difficulty of defining “engagement” is demonstrated by the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) 2006 “Engagement Definitions and Anatomy” white paper that advanced 25 different opinions on the possible meaning of the word. There was some consensus that the ultimate objective of engagement is to improve brand sales and equity. As Robert Passikoff wrote, “Engagement is the consequence of a marketing or communication effort that results in an increased level of brand equity for the product/service” (ARF, 2006, p. 6). And this...

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