Brain next to the book 'Fast and Slow Thinking'

The Power of Emotional Advertising & Kahneman's System 1 Peak-End Rule

Over the years, advertisers have learned that appealing to consumers' emotions can be more effective than relying solely on rational persuasion. One psychological principle that has played a pivotal role in shaping this approach is Daniel Kahneman's System 1 thinking and his Peak-End Rule.

The Emotional Connection
Emotional advertising operates on the premise that human beings are driven by their feelings and emotions. Our purchasing decisions, more often than not, are rooted in emotional responses rather than rational analysis. Kahneman's System 1 thinking, also known as “fast thinking”, is the automatic and intuitive mode of thought that guides many of our decisions. It relies on emotions, instincts, and heuristics rather than deep analytical thinking.
This is where emotional advertising steps in. By appealing to consumers' emotions, advertisers can tap into this System 1 thinking, making it more likely for consumers to engage with and remember their message.
Emotional vs Rational Decisioning  
A function of System 1 is ‘Intensity Matching’ that connects feelings with economic actions.  If you feel strongly about something, you’re more likely to invest into it. Kahneman calls it "the automatic process of the mental shotgun". 
When it comes to making purchasing decisions that are not crucial or life-changing, such as choosing a type of a detergent or even a type of a car, those decisions will be made by System 1, which will match an intensity of emotion towards a certain brand with a willingness to buy. Sometimes System 1 will ask System 2 for a rational verification (like in the case of a car), but rational analysis will not commence without an emotional response being there in the first place. 
The Peak-End Rule
Kahneman's Peak-End Rule posits that people tend to remember experiences, including advertisements, primarily based on two key moments: the peak emotional moment and the end of the experience. This means that even if an advertisement is relatively long, consumers will base their memory and evaluation of it on the emotional high point and the concluding scene.
For advertisers, this principle offers a strategic advantage. By carefully crafting the peak and end moments in an advertisement, they can leave a lasting imprint on consumers' minds, ultimately influencing their purchasing decisions.
Crafting Emotional Peaks
Creating emotional peaks in advertising is about evoking intense emotions that resonate with the target audience. These peaks can take various forms, such as heartwarming storytelling, humor, or awe-inspiring visuals. The goal is to make the audience feel something powerful that lingers in their memory.
Take, for example, the iconic Apple advertisements. They often feature sleek product showcases, combined with a minimalist aesthetic and a sense of wonder. These elements create emotional peaks that leave viewers with a sense of awe and desire.
Memorable Endings
Just as important as the emotional peak is the ending of an ad. This is the final impression that viewers carry with them. Advertisers should aim to conclude their ads on an emotional high note, leaving a positive and lasting mark.
Consider the UK’s affection for their seasonal John Lewis Christmas ads. These commercials characteristically end with a meaningful moment, leaving viewers with warm and positive emotions associated with the brand.
The Power of Consistency
Consistency throughout an emotional advertising campaign is key to reinforcing the emotional message. Advertisers must ensure that the emotional tone set at the beginning aligns with the peak and ending moments. A jarring inconsistency can disrupt the emotional flow and weaken the impact. For instance, Dove's Real Beauty Campaign consistently promotes self-acceptance and body positivity. This unwavering message reinforces the emotional connection with viewers throughout each advertisement.
Measuring Success
Evaluating the success of emotional advertising campaigns can be challenging, as it involves capturing intangible emotions. However, businesses can employ a variety of metrics, such as brand recognition, social media engagement, and customer feedback, to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. These metrics provide valuable insights into how consumers are responding emotionally.
To conclude, emotional advertising and Kahneman's System 1 thinking, along with the Peak-End Rule, are powerful tools in influencing consumer purchasing decisions. By appealing to consumers' emotions, creating emotional peaks, crafting memorable endings, maintaining consistency, and measuring success, advertisers can forge strong emotional connections with their target audience. Ultimately, the journey from emotional advertising to consumer action is a testament to the enduring power of emotions in marketing.

Emotional Advertising & Sales Lift

Realeyes partnered with Mars, Incorporated and their Marketing Laboratory at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science to investigate what drives video advertising success. 

We were able to distinguish between ads that sell and those that don’t with 75% accuracy. Successfully identifying emotional behaviour signals which together predicted an advert’s sales lift across all the product categories and markets tested means emotions can be linked to advertising effectiveness.