Emotional Marketing Tactics Work Because Butts Smell

EAG, June 21, 2021

Being in advertising and marketing, I like to think I’m immune to emotional tactics used to sway my purchasing decisions. Turns out, I’m not. Neither are you. Neither are your customers (thank goodness). Sure, all of us may sense a company is playing on our emotions. But, if a product or service brings us some kind of value, we’ll play along, right? Right. If we didn’t, a whole lot of companies could shut their doors today. That’s commerce.

This “indoor girl” is going camping soon. Backcountry, desert, no one around-type camping, with a relatively new significant other no less. I have all kinds of questions on the mechanics of normal bodily functions outside of normal conveniences. I’ve made a conscious decision to play it cool though and will tackle them as they come. Or, so I think.

Bam! Scrolling through social media and a paid ad for Lume deodorant pops up in my feed. It’s a video with a very funny and eye-catching intro (kudos to the company’s social media advertising firm). Not only do I stop and stare like it’s a train wreck, I couldn’t help but read the THOUSANDS of replies this video elicited.

The comments covered all sorts of ground, ranging from the “stanky ‘netherlands’” and obnoxious teenager and adult arm pit odor to healthcare workers’ feet able to curdle milk. Here’s just one to give you an idea:

“Works great, smells funky at first but quickly fades. Just used it on a 4-day hiking/camping trip and definitely kept the stink down. On a different note, I hope they do make a laundry detergent lol because now I realize how bad my workout clothes smell at the end of the day since I don’t smell but they reek!”

 One social media video ad that used humor to play on the human emotions of fear and embarrassment garnered:

  • THOUSANDS of opinions and unsolicited testimonies
  • Hundreds of shares via tagging friends
  • A new product idea (laundry soap)
  • Quite a number of sales based on their shipping backlog

How do I know? Because I succumbed to emotional marketing, empathized with my fellow camper above and plunked down my $19.99 plus shipping (3x my normal deodorant’s cost) for a tube of Tangerine Dream. I just hope it arrives before my camping adventure, so my arm pits, feet and “netherlands” stay fresh and odor-free out in the hot desert.

Off the Tangerine Tangent and Back to Emotional Marketing Tactics

That was a glimpse of how powerful using emotion in marketing can be. Like emotions can be difficult to describe, emotional marketing can be hard to define. Essentially, emotional marketing taps into primary emotions (happiness, sadness, anger and fear) to make consumers take note, remember, share and buy.

Emotions are fluid, so feeling one can lead a consumer through your sales funnel. Let’s use me as an example.

I took note of Lume’s emotional marketing for fear of desert “stank.”

I remembered the company name when I was retargeted with a special offer.

I bought the product.

If it works, you bet I’ll share it with my friends like “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”

Maybe you’re thinking emotional marketing doesn’t “apply” to you because your company doesn’t sell deodorant. That just doesn’t matter. EAG Advertising & Marketing works with companies in industries ranging from A to Z. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one company on our client roster that sells a product or service even close to personal hygiene products.

Instead, what comes to mind are hydraulic parts, pressure valves, software, research, healthcare devices, call centers, A/V technology and asphalt and concrete repair… to name a few. None of which sound like candidates for emotional marketing, but au contraire.

What makes a hydraulic parts customer happy is having a manufacturing partner who operates on the platform of American ingenuity and quality, so a tractor doesn’t go down when there are hundreds of acres to harvest and damaging rain is on the way.

What makes a cardiovascular patient’s family sad is watching their loved one recline miserably for hours waiting for a vein to close. Physicians can empathize and seek new devices that improve patient care and outcomes.

What makes a custom integrator angry is not having access to AV products and prices that the big integrators do, which eats into profit and ability to compete in the market. But having a distributor who’s on your side and exists to increase your business is a powerful connection.

What manufacturing companies fear is a pressure valve malfunctioning and taking down their production line or worse, causing an injury. A vendor who understands that every minute and every life matters, then bends over backwards to ensure quality, performance and service is a company you can lean on.

Great Emotional Marketing Requires Great Storytelling

When the EAG team creates a client’s brand positioning, we usually include the line “Great marketing requires great storytelling.” As the saying goes, everyone loves a good story, and what makes a story good is the emotional connection we make to the characters and situations.

Whether your target audience has crops in the field, a heart condition, a custom AV business, a critical production line or a smelly butt, emotional marketing inspires taking note, remembering, sharing and buying. You’re as passionate about your company and your product or service as anyone. Let emotions come out in your marketing tactics because we guarantee there are consumers out there who will relate and respond with their business.

Written by Brenda Heffron


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