The tear-jerk commercial

A peaceful view of mountains from Gabriels. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

I cry more preparing for Christmas than any other time of the year.

It isn’t for the stress, though we all know there is plenty of that, and it isn’t for the loss of family–we’ve all experienced those situations. I am genuinely sorry for anyone suffering any loss or stress. Does it help to be inundated by commercials that no longer tug on our heartstrings but bash our emotions over our heads?

I may watch heart-wrenching commercials, but I rarely remember what products are being sold. By the time I finish sobbing through the TV advertisement, I can’t remember if the business is hawking a new truck or a stick of gum. Gone are the subtle marketing ways that made me want to buy horrible-tasting coffee because it seemed like making a pot of coffee brought someone home for the holidays.

There are also plenty of fun-loving commercials: elderly ladies sliding down hills while reliving their childhood or people sharing a pint together at the local pub. The emotional onslaught takes a toll and goes against any selling technique if the consumer needs help remembering the product.

I understand emotion marketing and how it works. The company hopes that making consumers feel empathy, love, fear, humor, happiness or anger will tie emotions to the brand. Successful marketing connects you back to the product. Ineffective marketing only has you remembering the feeling. If you wonder where your dollars are going, an emotion-driving marketing campaign has a 31% better chance of success than a traditional advertisement just explaining a product’s benefit. Seventy percent of customers will recommend a brand based on an emotional connection, not necessarily the brand’s strength or positive benefits. That makes me feel like I’m being “played like a fiddle.”

A pain reliever would be the perfect subject for a tear-jerk commercial. The storyline wouldn’t need to connect to the advertised product. All the company would have to do is flash a public service announcement toward the finale, “Now that we’ve given you a headache, our product will take it away.”

No matter the reason you are feeling all the feels this holiday season, I hope you have better coping mechanisms in place when exposed to all the emotional marketing. I’ll just be home crying or laughing while feeling conflicted.


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