MK 354 Spring 2010

March 1, 2010

emotional – thank you mom.

Filed under: blog #5 — Tags: , , , , — marissagkelley @ 1:20 pm

This past month, the entire world turned its focus toward Vancouver, Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympic games. And what better platform for advertisers to make their impression than the equivalent of a worldwide Superbowl event? In the midst of a diverse television audience that is seeking entertainment by impressive feats of athleticism, how does a company like Proctor and Gamble make people care about mundane products like toothpaste and spray cleaner?

The approach that the company took fits the strategies cited in the chapter on emotion in Made to Stick.  The “Thank You Mom” commercial plays a sequence of powerful clips of Olympian moms cheering on their children as they compete. As inspirational music plays, the copy reads “Is there anything better than being a U.S. Olympian? Actually, there is. Being that Olympian’s mom. Thank you Mom. “

This campaign illustrates the old advertising strategy of selling the benefit of the benefit. Although P&G represents companies that sell everyday household necessities, it recognizes that paper towels and laundry detergent do not inspire an emotional reaction from their viewers. Instead, P&G sells the inspiring image of the loving mother: always there, rooting for her children and providing them with everything they need to succeed.  It’s selling the end result of a mom who has every P&G product that she needs to function during her busy day, so that she can focus on the things that really matter. With this highly effective ad comes the message: Moms, we are here to support you, so that you can focus on supporting your children.

Not only does this campaign illustrate selling the benefit of the benefit, it also appeals to self-interest. Everyone in the world has a mother, and knows the strength of a mother’s love. This commercial tugs at heartstrings by playing images we are all familiar with that express loving care and support. It invokes feelings of pride in its audience in the same way that the Don’t Mess With Texas campaign did.

By making an emotional appeal, Proctor & Gamble fulfilled its objective to position their brand as a trusted, dependable choice for all consumers. Essentially, the commercial used emotion to align the company with world-class Olympian athletes as a fellow champion.

February 28, 2010

Don’t Text and Drive, K?

Filed under: blog #5 — Tags: , , , , — Zach Cole @ 2:30 am

Sure, it seems like common sense to most of us: texting on your phone while driving is a bad decision. It causes car crashes, injuries and deaths. It is particularly dangerous for young, inexperienced drivers who are already more prone to car accidents than older generations. But texting is just so easy and convenient. And sometimes you just have to tell your bff that you cnt rlly talk, but ur on ur way.

So the question is, are those little everyday texts actually worth putting your life on the line? According to one particular British public service announcement, the answer is a resounding and horrific “no!” The video, which was rumored to have been banned from American airwaves due to graphic content, unfolds much like a short film. Three cheery girls are driving around, and just as the driver takes her eyes off the road to send a text message, she swerves into the next lane, crashing into a car coming the opposite direction. It doesn’t end there – the girls’ car is then blindsided by another oncoming car, sending all three into a hellish spin, complete with shards of glass, bloody foreheads and snapped necks. Her two friends die. The passengers of the other cars die.

Not only is this unexpected (few car crashes are depicted with such detail), but it is scary. The viewer fears allowing this sort of incident to ever occur and subconsciously vows to never text and drive. Chip and Dan Heath note that getting someone emotionally invested in an idea is a sure way to make the idea stick (167). However, the mere shock and fear factor of the car crash here is just the tip of the emotional iceberg.

One of the best ways to get someone emotionally attached to an idea is to speak to their interests. The viewer/listener must understand the benefits of the benefits that can be reaped from a particular idea (Heath, 179). In the case of the British PSA, marketers want teenage drivers to understand the benefits of the benefits of not texting while driving. They clearly express the idea that drivers who do not text while driving are far less likely to get into a car crash – that’s the immediate benefit. But what is the benefit of not getting in a car crash? The answers to this are obvious and plenty, but most importantly, the answers are poignantly detailed in the PSA. You won’t kill your friends if you don’t get in a car crash. You won’t kill a young child’s parents and baby sister if you don’t get in a car crash. The list goes on and on.

The marketers responsible for the PSA knew what they were doing when they tapped into the emotions of the audience. The viewer takes away an immediate sense of fear from this PSA. But thanks to the director’s keen understanding of emotional attachment to ideas, the viewer also takes away a sense of the benefits – all of them – that come from driving safely. That is why the images in this PSA are sticky and stay with the viewer long after the clip ends.

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