Proprietary Research Technique Called Emotional Bonding

Exhibit 9-6 Norwegian Cruise Lines used transformational advertising to create a unique image of the cruise experience

Emotional Appeal Marketing Ads

Exhibit 9-7 Lexus addresses both rational and emotional appeals in this clever ad experiences and activities to be enjoyed during one individual day on a Norwegian Cruise Line's voyage (Exhibit 9-6).

Combining Rational and Emotional Appeals In many advertising situations, the decision facing the creative specialist is not whether to choose an emotional or a rational appeal but, rather, determining how to combine the two approaches. As noted copywriters David Ogilvy and Joel Raphaelson have stated:

Few purchases of any kind are made for entirely rational reasons. Even a purely functional product such as laundry detergent may offer what is now called an emotional benefit—say, the satisfaction of seeing one's children in bright, clean clothes. In some product categories the rational element is small. These include soft drinks, beer, cosmetics, certain personal care products, and most old-fashioned products. And who hasn't experienced the surge of joy that accompanies the purchase of a new car?11

Consumer purchase decisions are often made on the basis of both emotional and rational motives, and attention must be given to both elements in developing effective advertising. Exhibit 9-7 shows a very clever ad that uses the Freudian concepts of id and superego to suggest that there are both emotional and rational reasons for purchasing the Lexus SC 400 coupe.

Exhibit 9-7 Lexus addresses both rational and emotional appeals in this clever ad

Emotional And Rational CommercialMccann Erickson Emotional Bonding
Figure 9-2 Levels of relationships with brands

Advertising researchers and agencies have given considerable thought to the relationship between rational and emotional motives in consumer decision making and how advertising influences both. McCann-Erickson Worldwide, in conjunction with advertising professor Michael Ray, developed a proprietary research technique known as emotional bonding. This technique evaluates how consumers feel about brands and the nature of any emotional rapport they have with a brand compared to the ideal emotional state they associate with the product category.12

The basic concept of emotional bonding is that consumers develop three levels of relationships with brands, as shown in Figure 9-2. The most basic relationship indicates how consumers think about brands in respect to product benefits. This occurs, for the most part, through a rational learning process and can be measured by how well advertising communicates product information. Consumers at this stage are not very brand loyal, and brand switching is common.

At the next stage, the consumer assigns a personality to a brand. For example, a brand may be thought of as self-assured, aggressive, and adventurous, as opposed to compliant and timid. The consumer's judgment of the brand has moved beyond its attributes or delivery of product/service benefits. In most instances, consumers judge the personality of a brand on the basis of an assessment of overt or covert cues found in its advertising.

McCann-Erickson researchers believe the strongest relationship that develops between a brand and the consumer is based on feelings or emotional attachments to the brand. Consumers develop emotional bonds with certain brands, which result in positive psychological movement toward them. The marketer's goal is to develop the greatest emotional linkage between its brand and the consumer. McCann-Erickson believes advertising can develop and enrich emotional bonding between consumers and brands. McCann and its subsidiary agencies use emotional bonding research to provide strategic input into the creative process and determine how well advertising is communicating with consumers. McCann-Erickson used emotional bonding research as the basis for its award-winning "Priceless" campaign for MasterCard International. When the agency took over the account a few years ago, MasterCard was perceived as an ordinary credit card you keep in your wallet. The challenge was to create an emotional bond between consumers and MasterCard without losing the brand's functional appeal. McCann-Erickson developed a sentimental campaign that uses ads that take the sum total of an experience and declare that it has no price tag. Each commercial and print ad ends with the theme "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else there's MasterCard" (Exhibit 9-8).

Exhibit 9-8 MasterCard's "Priceless" campaign creates an emotional bond with consumers

How Create Emotional Appeal

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