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In some product categories, the ability of negative expressions to be able to tell a story matters more.

A research conducted by Timberland and Esomar revealed that, in advertising, the lack of negative emotions may be more significant than the presence of positive emotions. The report highlighted that the presence of positive emotion, on its own, “is not highly associated with probability of success.”

The study found that in cases of categories such as Personal Care and Dairy, advertising for which is more problem-solution driven and rational, “the linkage between net positive emotions (valence) and advertising cut-through (awareness index) is driven by the absence of frown.”

Negative expressions’ ability of lucid and credible storytelling may matter more in some product categories than others. Additionally, for “well-understood” categories such as soft drinks, emotion does the heavy-lifting and aids advertising cut-through.

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[3 minute read]

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