In 2014, Budweiser’s emotionally charged ‘Puppy Love’ ad premiered at the Super Bowl. The company's brand vice president, Jorn Socquet, subsequently claimed Budweiser “won the Super Bowl [with] the most retweeted alcoholic beverage tweet ever and the most likes on a Facebook post ever from an advertiser".

That may seem like evidence of a successful campaign that attracted consumer attention to the brand, but ten months later, Socquet admitted, “While everybody loves the puppies, they have zero impact on beer sales…they don’t sell beer.”

According to Phil Barden, MD of Decode, the statistic "Ninety-five per cent of decision are driven by emotion" is often presented at marketing conferences, but Barden has an issue with the claim. Speaking at a Brainy Bar event (London, November 2018), organised by WARC and neuroscience agency Walnut Unlimited, Barden explained why emotion is not enough, and how it must be linked to goals to drive consumer behaviour. He began by outlining how the relationship between emotion and successful advertising is complex, and why an emotional campaign is not the same as a successful campaign.

Establishing a link