Emotionally Engaging Commercials Work Better

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A very common mistake small business owners make when they are developing a commercial or advertisement is they try to include too much information. They desire to include lots of facts and figures. They want to list all of the features they offer. They often overlook the reasons why a consumer would pick them to help them with a need or desire. The reasons why are the very core of a compelling and engaging commercial message.

A compelling and engaging commercial message must be on message but it must also be on emotion. Engagement is the route to all successful advertising. All successful advertising, hence engagement is driven by emotion. Consumers need an emotional reason to pay attention to a commercial.

When developing a commercial, it is important to develop what researchers call an easy on ramp. You need to make it easy for consumer to engage. The commercials must be accessible, quick and immediate for the listener. Consumers will allow approximately three seconds for any one detail or part of the script to register an emotional response that they can relate to or they will tune out the commercial.

So it is important to always keep in mind the three second rule making sure that everything in the script can be absorbed, reflected and responded to quickly. It is vital to keep the message as simple as possible with a single core idea to there is a chance to bring the commercial to life and make things happen around it.

There are two ways to address this. If your product is indeed simple, keep the message simple. Yes, you can add some novel ideas to the script and the execution of the script. When you keep the message simple, you give the consumer the easy on-board access to the commercial that draws them in and grabs their attention.

Second, if your product or service involves some degree of complexity, identify those aspects about your business that are familiar enough to consumers to include in the commercial so that once again, people have an easy on-ramp.

Simple combined with novel works, as well as combining something complex in terms of something that is already familiar also works by making it easier and more immediate for consumers to grasp. So one of those two qualities should be included but preferably not both.

Small business owners often want to see a cause and effect relationship when they spend their money on advertising. They often try to do “Call to Action” advertising.  They want to advertise a sale or a special price to entice consumers to come into their store. This is a very expensive proposition for a variety of reasons.

First, the small business owner is discounting their products. They are giving up their hard earned profit margins. Second, they are spending money on advertising, possibly adding to the regular budget.

When a small business owner tries to do Call To Action advertising, their expenses go up and their profit margins go down. Even if the advertising generates additional sales, the profit margins are smaller on each sale making it very difficult to generate enough new profit margin to cover the increased expense.

Many small business owners underestimate just how much money it takes to do Call To Action advertising properly because they are overlooking the fundamentals of consumer behavior.  Advertising by itself doesn’t cause someone to enter the market for a product or service. The consumer becomes a prospect when they have a need or a desire that bubbles up with them. The advertising helps that consumer find a way to satisfy that need or desire.

Call To Action advertising primarily appeals to those consumers who have already developed the need or desire so only a percentage of the market place is in the market for what the small business owner has to offer. Good Call To Action advertising requires that the small business owner cover the entire market with their message. They need to buy large newspaper ads, commercials on all of the Radio and TV stations plus a direct mail campaign if they want to have any hope of reaching a sizable enough audience to have a profitable sale.

Effective Call To Action advertising costs thousands of dollars a day to do it properly.

Branding advertising focuses on consumer behavior as the guiding principal of strategy. Knowing that consumers enter the market when they have a need or a desire, the goal of the small business owner should be to be known before you are needed. Eighty six percent of consumers surveyed said they were” likely or very likely” to do business with the first name they think of when they have a need or a desire.

The Four Compelling and Engaging Elements

There are four basic compelling and engaging elements that every advertisement should include to be effective;

  • The most important word in the world of marketing
  • The ‘felt need’ of the consumer
  • The Call to Action
  • The ROI

The Most Important Word

The first compelling and engaging element that every advertisement should include is the single most important word to the consumer. The most important word isn’t sale or discount or even free. The most important word to the consumer is the word you.

Every commercial is a story about something or someone. A compelling and engaging commercial is not about the small business owner or their products or services. Compelling and engaging commercials are always about the customer. The customer wants to know “what’s in it for me?”

When the copywriter uses the word you in the script, they invite the consumer into the commercial as a participant because the commercial is about them, the consumer.

The Felt Need of the Consumer

The second compelling and engaging element that every advertisement needs to be effective is the felt need of the consumer. A felt need is simply that – something in any area of the consumer’s life that they perceive as a need. In the broadest sense, it can be just about anything.

The felt need is something that the consumer feels. They think about it whenever the subject comes up. It is something that they want or need but haven’t yet acted upon.

By the very definition, a felt need is very personal emotion. Personal emotions respond best to emotional solutions. A great commercial identifies with the felt needs of the consumer and engages the consumer on that personal level.

A good advertisement combines the word you and the felt need into the script early, in the first three seconds to grab the consumer’s attention and make them an active participant in the commercial.

For example:

“You love your home. But you hate your bathroom. It’s small, it’s cold and it’s old fashioned. You want a new bathroom.”

This first part of the advertisement has the most important word, you in it three times. And many of us can identify with the felt need for a larger, warmer more modern bathroom. Anyone who is disappointed with their current bathroom will immediately be emotionally engaged with this commercial script. They will say to themselves “Hey, they’re talking to me. I love my house but I want a new bathroom too.”

The Call to Action Element

Now the consumer is involved with the commercial. It’s time to tell them how they can have a new bathroom.

The third compelling and engaging element every advertisement needs to be effective is the Call to Action element, a description of what the consumer needs to do to address their felt need.

“Call the bathroom remodeling experts, ABC Bathrooms. They can make your bathroom dreams come true right before your very eyes. With experienced craftsmen, free financing, your new bathroom is just a call away.”


The fourth compelling and engaging element is the Return On Investment, what will the consumer get when they call or more importantly, how will their life be better after calling ABC Bathrooms?

“Before you know it, you will be relaxing in your larger, warmer more modern bathroom.”

Now of course, this is an oversimplified example of the four compelling and engaging elements every advertisement should include.

The use of sound effects, announcer and actor voices will add a touch of professionalism.

Spike SanteeEmotionally Engaging Commercials Work Better

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