We've all seen our share of emotional brand messages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns. Now Unruly has tested 52 ads globally on 18,500 consumers around the world using its EMO Index, which measures the intensity of emotions an ad generates compared to the territory average.
It's found that ads in APAC have scored the highest emotional impact, with six of the top 10 emotional engagement scores coming from this region, including the top three.
Google's "Thank You" ad out of Japan was the runaway winner, with a +214% EMO Index score, meaning it is more than three times more emotional than the average ad in Japan. Moreover, Unruly says the same ad also scored the highest for brand favourability and purchase intent. According to the results, 83% of viewers considered Google to be an empowering brand after watching the ad—34% higher than the Japanese average.
Sam Ho, insight and solutions manager at Unruly in Singapore, says in part this is because Google was also able to ensure its branding was present during the peak emotional moments, without interrupting the flow of the ad. It did so by including a distinctive search bar overlay, allowing Google to show how its services are helpful during the crisis without appearing exploitative.
“The intensity of emotional responses by Japanese consumers to ads is typically 50% lower than the global average, so it’s surprising to see Google Japan’s: 'Thank You' stand out as the strongest performer when compared to 51 other COVID-19 related video ads," said Ho. "However, when you watch the ad, it’s easy to see why it performed so strongly. The whole ad is comprised of footage shot on mobile phones and captured from video calls, which creates an aura of authenticity and amplifies the sense of empowerment generated by the video's structure and content."
The Singapore Government's "Together We Can" campaign (below) came second (+124% EMO score), followed closely by Tourism Australia's 'With Love from Aus' work (+122%). Singapore, it seems, had a knack for creating work that pulled the emotions, placing three others in the top 10: Air Asia's 'Keep Fighting, China' ranked sixth, Prudential's 'Together, Let's #DOGOOD' placed eighth, while Colgate work for Australia with 'Our Smiles Keep us Together' was 10th.
Ho says the findings indicate Singaporeans want ads to show how brands are supporting stakeholders, and the Gov.sg ad, which showcases people from all walks of life stepping up to support each other, warmed hearts.
Meanwhile, Tourism Australia's campaign was inspiring with beautiful images evoking strong feelings of happiness.
“There’s no pushy, salesy message, just promises of ‘repainted views and lighter horizon’ for travellers to enjoy once again, amplifying positive brand favourability and post-viewing intentions for Tourism AU," Ho said. "So, by staying in the minds of the consumers during this period, Tourism AU can immediately flip their switch from survival to revival once travel restrictions are lifted.”