Positive Emotion in Advertising – A Case Study

In recent weeks I’ve been carrying out some interviews to help select a new member of the marketing team for a company I work for an awful lot. Something I’m always interested to know for more junior roles is the extent to which the candidate is actually receptive to and aware of marketing in their day to day life, and so I often ask if they have a favourite advert or remember a particular campaign as a sort of ice breaker. {Tweet this}

Positive Emotion in Advertising - A Case Study - Rippleout Marketing

Positive Emotion in Advertising – A Case Study: Sony & #PlayStationMemories

This, almost inevitably, gets me thinking about some of my own favourite adverts and the reasons for that, and I want to briefly discuss one of the best here.

Those of you who have seen Inception might remember the phrase ‘positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time’, a point made by Leonardo DiCaprio’s character. This is something which I think Sony did fantastically well with their ‘For The Players’ campaign just before the launch of the PlayStation 4. {Tweet this}

From experience, small businesses often seem to rely on statistics and ‘logical’ arguments when looking to make a new sale. Whilst this is certainly valid (especially in a B2B environment) it can certainly pay to think about how you can appeal to the subconscious, emotional side of your prospects. {Tweet this}

Positive Emotion in Advertising – A Case Study

In short, Sony ran a Twitter hash tag for a few weeks back in 2013 called #PlayStationMemories – asking people to tweet them all their memories of the PlayStation console through its various incarnations. Now, Sony didn’t spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on this tactic – which is why I like it as an example for this blog. It’s something any small business could do – simply ask your social media followers to let you know what you do well, and you instantly have a set of positive associations to work with.

This kind of loose qualitative research allowed Sony to develop an understanding of the positive memories people associated with their consoles, and they then created a video around it. Essentially, it’s people spending time with their friends, eating comfort food. But, crucially, Sony perfectly captured the essence of that time – the sound track, the changing posters on the walls, skateboards, changing hair styles and changing fashions.

Couple this with the nods towards aspects of life which we tend to view positively in hindsight – the signed school shirt symbolising the last day of school, relationships developing, fireworks, nights out etc. The PlayStation is portrayed as an element of all these things – perhaps not the facilitator, but ever present and constant, despite changing technology (the controllers move from wired to wireless for instance), new friendships and the passage of time.

What this is then, is a fantastic way for Sony to transfer all those positive emotions on to its console. What small business can take away from this approach is that sometimes marketing, and indeed selling, is often about more than convincing people of the logical reasons for doing something. Consumers are generally driven by impulse, and the airbrushed memories of those long days spent playing FIFA 2009 might just, sometimes, be enough to inspire a purchase. {Tweet this}

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