So far 2015 seems to be the year of “the feels.” Beyond just being a sticky internet meme, brands are starting to hitch themselves onto this positivity train to shopper and consumer success in some really large-scale, high profile ways. Here are three examples of big brands who are bringing “the feels,” and the short-term results they are seeing.
1) Dove: Feel Worthy
Going off the statistic that last year “women posted more than 5 million negative Tweets about beauty and body image,” Dove wanted to change the tone with their Twitter-based #SpeakBeautiful campaign that kicked off at an epicenter of cattiness: The Oscars. The way the campaign works is that Dove monitors Twitter chatter for a negative self-worth or malicious Tweets and then sends reactionary “one-on-one responses to women and girls to inspire them to help change the way we talk about beauty” (as framed up by Dove’s Director of Marketing, Jennifer Bremner).
Results: More than 51,000 supportive Tweets using the hashtag #SpeakBeautiful and nearly 46,000 responses to @Dove were recorded by Topsy Analytics in just the four days surrounding the Oscars.
2) Coca-Cola: Feel Happier
Coke launched their #MakeItHappy campaign with a commercial during the Super Bowl this year centered on “optimism, uplift and inclusion.” The commercial showed a Coke being accidentally spilled into an internet server, causing all of the anger being sent around cyberspace to change to messages of kindness and joy. Coke has since released four additional longer format online videos with a similar theme. Jennifer Healan, Coca-Cola’s Group Director of Integrated Marketing Content, explains that their goal for the campaign “is to inspire America to become a collective force for positivity.”
Results: Per Coca-Cola’s findings, the #MakeItHappy campaign received a 95 percent neutral to positive public response.
3) McDonald’s: Feel Loved
McDonald’s has taken a new angle with their existing “I’m lovin’ it” slogan as seen in their latest “Pay With Lovin’” campaign, which gives real opportunities for McDonald’s patrons to pay for their meal by simply showing an act of love. Their launch spot for the campaign depicts scenes of sons calling their moms to tell them that they love them and families coming together for a group hug. McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl justifies the new campaign with the straightforward viewpoint, “When you focus on the idea [of happiness], you’re a better brand.”
Results: According to McDonald’s, the two week in-store campaign lifted the perception of the brand online from approximately a 30% “neutral or positive” rating in 2014 to an 85% “neutral or positive” rating currently in 2015.
Takeaway? While using emotion as a hook in advertising has been around since the beginning of the Mad Men era, this new style clearly transcends the previous attempts of merely manipulating a shopper’s heart strings based on focus group findings. This new approach stands out because brands are:
- EXPANDING STRATEGIC SCOPE: Using emotion in far more tactical applications and activations
- MORE HONEST THAN EVER: Displaying complete transparency and authenticity in their motives
- HANDING OVER THE STAGE: Providing value by giving people a branded microphone to express their own voice and what they have to say on the subject
It looks as if brands are realizing that a great way to form a bond with their target audience is to provide the right trigger for them to “feel,” and then let them run with that feeling while knowing the brand made it happen. Simple.
Matt O'Toole is an associate shopper marketing strategist in the Momentum Chicago office.