Emotional triggers

Back in the 1980s AT&T had children running to the phone to call their mothers after a commercial aired showing the tears of one happy mother. The right emotional trigger can get a consumer to act and that means sales. Here are some of the most common emotional triggers used and some examples of how they are being used.

  • That crying mama in those phone company commercials placed a lot of guilt of children and made them forget that a call to mama was rather expensive in those days.
  • Farmers Insurance is leading the way with a humorous ad campaign on a serious subject. The goal is to make you afraid of the falling piano or flood and run out and make sure you have enough coverage.
  • Forget Jake from State Farm and his suspicious wife. It’s their ad campaign where agents pop just when you need them that emphasize a bond and trust consumers can have with the agent. It’s a continuation of a marketing campaign they have used for years—“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”
  • Trend setting. Buick is trying to be a new trend setter but pointing out how much they weren’t one in the past. Their series of commercials where people are surprised that a car is a Buick is targeted at making them a trend setter now.
  • Who doesn’t need more time and this is an effective trigger. Cleaning products that pledge to help you get the job done in half the time are one example of how this trigger is used.

Many other emotional triggers like belonging and instant gratification are also used to drive consumers to products. The right trigger for your campaign will depend on your product and your message.


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