Brands trying to strike up an emotional connection with you is nothing new. However, it’s a trend that’s on the up this year and we’ve noticed major brands starting to take this marketing approach.

However, is the timing off? Are consumers savvier and seeing past this marketing ploy? Many huge brands are getting a backlash online.

Instead of just pointing out the brands that are getting the emotional connections wrong, we thought we would make a great learning exercise by flipping people’s comments into advice for others. We’ve been scouring the web to crowdsource the more level-headed feedback and turn this from groans to guidance.


As highlighted in the picture below, people have stated that Nescafe has a fairly confusing approach to emotive advertising. The online commentary indicates that this creative concept is disjointed from the brand offering and, as a result, it’s left a fair few consumers a bit confused about what the whole thing is supposed to be about.

This ad confuses me. You can’t email coffee either.

— Andrew Bloch (@AndrewBloch) July 24, 2015

So what’s the key takeaway here?

The learning from all this Twitter chatter is that brands need to ensure that they are being genuine and not deviating too far from the business proposition.


Many banks seems to be using emotive advertising to create a connection between themselves and their customers. Understandably, after the financial crisis and other scandals, many banks need to work on building up trust with customers. Nationwide, for example, is currently using an advert that sees a scarf returned to a Dad by a member of staff. Online commentary suggests that this is straying too far from the service Nationwide actually offers, opting instead to try and strike up an emotional rapport with its customers.

Now the Nationwide advert is very good, but when did banks stop advertising, you know what they sell? — Connaire Demain (@conn1231) July 19, 2015

So what’s the key takeaway here?

It’s important for brands to gauge the mood of the nation before going down the path of striking up an emotional connection. For banks, it may have been too early. Timing is key. Howard from the Halifax adverts knew how to do it.


The advert from travel firm Airbnb has caused a stir on social media. The advert sees a baby walking through a house, accompanied by a voice over and an underlying message of people being nervous about new experiences. Online commentators suggested this was done with the aim of combating the negative view people may have about having strangers live in your home.

Whilst good natured in its aims to reassure users that strangers living in your house for the purposes of a holiday isn’t weird, the approach on Twitter left many people…unnerved.



So what’s the key takeaway here?

The context and format of your message is vital. The advert was largely applauded by the online community, but the phrases taken from the advert didn’t work on Twitter and left Airbnb open to sarcastic comments. It needed more than 140 characters for this to come across well, so brands need to carefully consider the right channel to strike up that emotional connection.


From reviewing online chatter, Facebook’s attempt is probably the closest to getting it right, with a brand focused advert following the story of friendships. Once people had gotten over the shock of seeing a Facebook advert on TV, some began grumbling.

The core annoyance of those grumblers is around Facebook seemingly taking credit of friendship. If anything, the advert just reminded people of how friendships used to work before Facebook.

I love how the Facebook advert presumes Earth was just 6 billion peripatetic loners ’til it invented friendship in 2004

— Tommy Collins (@collinst26) June 13, 2015

So what’s the key takeaway here?

Be modest!

As communications professionals, we know when it’s done right, it works. Take John Lewis as an example; its Christmas advert was wildly popular (and usually gets it right) and helped the retailer to achieve very healthy Christmas sales.

Brands really run the gauntlet when it comes to their advertising and the resulting effect on public relations. With social media providing consumers with an outlet to air their views, getting it right is more important than ever.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

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