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  • Kevan Oswald

The Impact of Relatable Emotion



There are only three things that make me tear up, patriotic songs, the suffering of children, and videos of people who hear for the first time in their life after receiving cochlear implants. Other than that, I’m pretty even keel. It’s not that I lack emotion, it’s just that it takes a lot to get my tear ducts moving. So when this video, produced by a student director in Germany nonetheless, caused me to tear up, I knew it was something special. The ad will likely top anything we will see Madison Avenue put out next month on Super Bowl Sunday. When I first saw it yesterday, it had just over 9,000 views, a day later it’s closing in on 800,000. The commercial was apparently sent to Adidas and received no response.


The current Adidas advertising campaign that focuses on “create” is very well done. I really like it. There’s no doubt that they are on the right track, but this commercial creates a far stronger emotional reaction than pointing out how unique James Harden’s beard is. And when it comes to moving people to action, emotion rules.


For established brands, emotion is far more important than information. I can gather all the objective information I want about a brand with a few clicks. Information is everywhere, make me feel something, only then will the brand have a chance to move me in the direction it wants.


So how does this commercial do it? The high emotional impact is developed by following a well proven formula where a wish becomes an idea, the idea is executed to no avail, new efforts are met with new failure and hopelessness sets in, until finally one day, with fresh courage and the unexpected help of others, the adversary is vanquished and our hero is victorious. We’ve seen this emotional journey played out over and over on the silver screen. We’ve probably experienced it in our own lives. Even though few of us are trapped in a rest home, the struggle is very relatable. That’s why the commercial is so moving. The result is a very positive emotional association with the Adidas brand, and when we feel good about a brand, we tend to buy it.

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