It’s a Wonderful Ad

The democratization of content publishing has given us more video ads than we know what to do with. Brands have always repurposed their TV spots hoping to get more legs out of the production. But we have also seen the rise storytelling where the brand is not (necessarily) the hero of the ad, some universal feeling is.

Video is a ‘no-duh approach’ (official term) to eliciting emotions with dialogue, musical score, non-verbal cues, etc. But what struck me today was the outdoor ad by the clever creatives behind Corona. The billboard read, “Every time you disconnect, a Corona gets its lime.” as a spin on a lovely little line in Frank Capra’s classic, It’s a Wonderful Life. I’m a big fan of Corona’s work, likely for the same reason you are — it makes me happy to look at their totally beachin’ scenes. I chuckle at the clever phrasing. Their clean imagery has built familiarity over time.

Today’s ad layered on one more feeling — nostalgia, and it turned the ad up to eleven. This layering of emotions may be the special sauce that takes an average dish of branding to Michelin status. Great chefs will tell you that layering flavors deepens and expands them into a sum bigger than their parts. It’s the same for emotions. Emotions are the spice of advertising.

In this ad, Corona does plenty of things right — stays true to their identity, distills their value proposition into a simple, memorable phrase, sells hope not fear. But by creating a complex intersection of feelings with their ads, they broaden connection potential and entangle their brand with emotional longevity by getting sentimental.

But by creating a complex intersection of feelings with their ads, they broaden connection potential and entangle their brand with emotional longevity by getting sentimental.

Sentimentality can manifest in different ways — outright sadness, nostalgia, wistfulness, fuzzy warmth, maternal/paternal surge, romance, even hiraeth. Sentimentality requires authenticity and transparency. And there is a vulnerability to this emotional path for brands. It reminds us as the consumer that there are, in fact, people behind this product or service. Genuine experiences stays with us.

By connecting with deeper memory/emotion, Corona fortifies how we think about the refreshing Summer-fun beverage without sacrificing their well-tread path of vacation mindset and witty word play. Their dip into nostalgia maps their message to existing emotional memories in a way that will pay off longer than it takes for us to drive past or skip the next ad, say… at the register.

In the effort to engage and influence, don’t be afraid to go after the heart by showing yours. People are desperate to feel connected in the age of tech and social media and imbalance. Brands that mix up a batch of the feels by layering emotions aren’t going to go hungry.

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