Executive creative director, South Asia
Ogilvy & Mather
Since there is some level of bias in our society, unmarried women constantly feel the need to look fair and attractive if they want to find a good life partner. Fairness cream brands play on this insecurity, as do anti-ageing products, which say that if you want to keep the romance alive, use our product.
Even women’s product categories, from sanitary napkins to face creams, will tell women that they can be more confident if they use their products. Fear is also a big purchase trigger for categories such as insurance, where you will see an ad where a wife thinks her husband has had a heart attack, when he’s just taking a nap.
However, most brands usually steer clear of this emotion, unless it’s a manageable fear with an instant solution, as research shows that consumers tend to switch off if the message makes them too nervous. That’s when humour comes handy, a good tool, as it disarms the consumer for a moment and enables the message to go through. The ad for Zicom security systems, featuring a grandma who’s home alone with a little child, is a good example of this.
Coming days: A lot of categories will also start using guilt as an emotional hook to push certain categories and products. So, we will see a lot of brands from categories such as health foods play on that emotion by telling parents not to compromise on their child’s health, future or well-being. Also we will see more focus on things that offer solid value and stability.
So, you may see advertisers who may offer consumers a chance to win gold-plated goods, gold coins, etc. Sectors such as real estate, which are hit by the slowdown, will use temptation as a strong hook, by making the proposition extremely attractive. Whether it’s the structure, the location or the way it is promoted.
National creative director
Most campaigns that have enjoyed consistent success leverage one strong purchase trigger (emotion) interpreted in different ways. Bharti Airtel Ltd, for example, has consistently pegged its network story on unbreakable bonds. We use rivalry with the male of the species in our Hero Pleasure work (”Why should boys have all the fun?”). Minto Fresh is on the tried and tested—but still?one?of?the?strongest—emotional need to impress every beautiful girl you meet .
Coming days: Some niche brands will flirt with so-called negative emotions—being nasty just for fun, humiliating someone because you can, etc. But mainstream brands will continue to use triggers such as caring, protecting, sharing, pride, security, ambition, admiration, respect and hope.
However, it doesn’t matter what emotion you latch on to—dozens of brands have already done it before you. The only way your brand will stand out, and connect, is by looking at it from a fresh perceptive, through the lens of a powerful new insight.
National creative director
Humour as a trigger is used extensively in ads such as Chlor-mint and Center fresh. These ads are also about being cool and feeling good about yourself. Titan’s “Be More” is about achieving more; it centres on ambition and pride as emotions.
“India Jeet Gaya” ad of Cadbury is about a bond between unknown people and the feel good factor of chocolate. Chocolate brings out warmth in people.
Dark or negative triggers are seldom used in ads. Post “India Shining”, Congress (party) had used “Aam Aadmi Ko Kya Mila” which tapped on cynicism as an emotion and was pitted against the BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party’s) “India Shining” campaign.
People were wary about the Shining campaign and the Congress was intent on leveraging this. Most ads revolve around feel-good hooks, such as Vodafone, and Airtel’s “Beyond Borders”.
Coming days: Positive emotions/triggers such as joy, happiness, elation, etc., will take center stage in advertising.
Chairman & national creative director
The USP (unique selling proposition) is dead. This is the age of ESP—emotional selling proposition. Airtel, for example, is about the “Joy of togetherness”. Another big trigger these days is self-reliance and self-respect. HDFC (Standard Life’s) “Sar uthake jiyo” is a powerful brand idea.
Coming days: Good old emotional values such as love, patriotism, honesty, courage will continue to be powerful purchase triggers. New contemporary feelings will be layered over these such as empowerment and individuality.
Priti J Nair
Former national creative director
In terms of purchase triggers, advertisers in India have started playing more of a value game where they try and use emotional hooks such as greed to attract consumers.
All of a sudden we’re seeing this flurry of ads where the company is now advertising details about packaging, grammage, etc., along with the intangible values, to show consumers that they are being offered a value proposition.
Lux, the beauty soap brand from Hindustan Unilever Ltd, has started advertising the ingredient story along with its core proposition—that film stars use Lux. We are seeing ads where their brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra shares the space with yummy ingredients such as strawberries and cream, which helps the brand cut across the clutter.
Gone are the days when the image and heritage of the brand did the selling.
Today, being a beauty soap that film stars use is just not good enough anymore! Especially when you are competing in a market where everything from soap to packaged drinking water comes with value adds.
Coming days: Advertising and packaging will also play an important role during this time, to ensure top-of-mind recall for the brand.
Companies will launch smaller stock keeping units at more affordable price points.
Vice-president, creative services
TBWA\India Pvt. Ltd
Different brands use different triggers and emotions in ads to strike a chord with people and influence purchase decisions.
A brand such as Onida uses a negative trigger such as envy and makes something wonderful out of it. Saffola in its earlier ads used fear. The wife feared for the health of her husband and it made her switch to Saffola. The ads that followed for Saffola used other positive emotions such as hope and trust and good health.
Celebrations as a brand is about the joy of the product and the act of giving. Insurance brands are normally built on hope (for a bright future). Internationally, Haagen-Dazs is built on the aphrodisiac plank.
Some brands are using negative emotions such as cynicism, and turn it over its head.
They urge people to get out their cynicism and do something good for the country. Tata Tea’s recent commercial shows a youngster quiz a minister on what his qualifications are and just why he merits such an important job (governing the country.)
Idea Cellular shows its lead protagonist accomplishing something for the good of the nation and then depicts the satisfaction of a good deed done.
Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd’s Lead India and Teach India have the same premise.
Coming days: Humour as a tack in price decisions is a strategy adopted by most. With humor, the advantage is that it clicks with everyone.
Humour is likely to dominate as an emotion in inflation-afflicted times when I think everyone can do with a smile.
Other ads that could dominate are ads that give you ‘the warm fuzzy feeling’, commercials with adorable kids or animals, such as Vodafone.
— As told to Anushree Chandran and Gouri Shah