How Emotional Tugs Trump Rational Pushes: The Time Has Come to Abandon a 100-Year-Old Advertising Model

Orlando Wood

BrainJuicer Labs

Management slant

  • New evidence from psychology suggests that most of the decisions we make are made quickly and intuitively, by what is known as System 1 (fast) decision-making.
  • An important component of System 1 decision-making is emotion, which guides many decisions. Instead of answering the more difficult question "what do I think about this choice?," we instead tend to ask ourselves "how do I feel about this choice?"
  • A brand that adopts emotional communications draws people closer to it, promotes fast and emotional decision-making, reduces its price sensitivity and reliance on price promotions. This explains why emotional campaigns are more profitable than rational campaigns.
  • The prevailing model of advertising is rooted in the belief that, in order to be effective, advertising needs to gain the viewer's attention and persuade through a message of a brand's benefits. This type of advertising is designed to appeal to System 2 (slow and deliberative) decision-making. Most pre-testing research is structured in this way, but it does not reflect how we make many of our purchasing decisions.