Last updated on 27th April 2023
Every day, you’re exposed to a countless number of ads. And you probably forget most of them. But there are some ads out there that you just never forget.
If you bring to mind one of those ads now, it’s highly likely that the brand used emotional marketing to give the content a lasting impression.
Emotional marketing works. According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman’s book, How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market, an overwhelming 95% of all purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind.
And how can marketers reach such a place?
You guessed it. Emotional marketing.
So let’s not waste another second and start reviewing 25 of the best emotional marketing videos to see what we can learn!
What is emotional marketing?
Emotional marketing refers to marketing content that uses emotion to appeal to customers and prospects in a way that creates an emotional response that hopefully triggers a desired behaviour or action, for example an increase in customer loyalty or increase in sales.
Initially, when we think of ‘emotional marketing’ it can be easy to come to the conclusion that it’s all soppy, tug-on-your-heartstrings stuff. And some of it is. But there’s a whole range of human emotions that you can use to connect with your customers.
Yes, you can make them cry. But you can also make them laugh. Make them feel inspired. Make them feel empowered. The list goes on.
Video is the perfect use case for emotional marketing because viewers can get lost in your video content. And it’s worth mentioning that people prefer video marketing too! According to our Video Marketing Statistics 2023, people watch an average of 17 hours of online video content per week. And 91% of people say they want to see more online videos from brands in 2023.
25 best emotional marketing examples
It’s hard to believe that Toyota manages to tell such a touching life story in just 60 seconds. The inspirational soundtrack paired with Olympian swimmer Jessica Long literally swimming through her memories makes for a really beautiful and unique video.
Toyota does a great job of taking a backseat here and simply letting the compelling story do the talking. Their logo is only shown in the background of one of the swimming scenes and at the end of the video. Emotional marketing videos tend to work better when brands do this. After all, it should be all about the emotional connection rather than the brand’s advertising efforts.
Google has made a couple of videos like this now. The first being Parisian Love, followed by Dear Sophie, and now this video simply titled ‘Get back to what you love.’
The premise of the video is always the same, showing people candidly using Google products in a way that creates deep meaning in their lives. This video shows the journey of a user ‘getting back to normal’ after the pandemic. A virtual meeting becomes an in-person happy hour, restaurants go from closed to open, and a search for ‘sweat pants’ becomes simply a search for ‘pants’.
It’s a genius emotional marketing strategy by Google to touch upon a global experience and use that to create video content that is just so relatable to viewers. Bravo Google!
The message for this video is short and simple: that care should be given after every miscarriage. To get this point across, Tommy’s uses animation to tell the tale of how painful every miscarriage can be for couples and explains that the current protocol is that 3 miscarriages are required before couples can seek help.
This emotional marketing campaign was effective in getting this message across and actually succeeded in getting the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to update their guidelines on recurrent miscarriage.
4. Kiyan Prince Foundation
This video has a powerful message to convey, and takes a very interesting approach to deliver it. The video tells the tale of the person Kiyan Prince would’ve been had he not been tragically killed due to knife crime.
This is more than enough to create an emotional response, but the narrative takes this one step further to motivate others who are watching the video to be the best version of themselves.
This video by New Zealand telecommunications company Spark is a real tearjerker. Flicking back and forth between clips of wedding planning, the big day itself, and hospital footage, with the father of the bride’s speech as the voiceover, this video tells a story that sadly a lot of people probably find relatable.
The reveal of the video message at the end is poignant and acts as a very subtle device for Spark to promote their strong internet connection as a way of making sure the bride’s father could be there on the big day, even though he couldn’t.
6. Coca Cola
Coca Cola needs no introduction, but they do need a way to remain relevant and ensure people are still thinking about their brand and buying their products. And this sweet video about brotherly love is a great way to do just that.
The scenes of the older brother teasing the younger brother are juxtaposed with the older brother protecting his younger brother from being teased by others, and the video ends on a nice humorous note to keep things light and happy.
This anime-style video tells quite the story in just 90 seconds! It shows the struggle of a single mother at home sick with her child. The emotion builds up as we experience the hardships of life through the mother’s point of view, and then crescendos with the beautiful realisation that her child is really happy just spending time with her.
It’s a really smart way to sell a product like miso which, while not a flashy product, is a staple in most Japanese homes.
8. UK Road Safety
This is an old ad. But if you’re from the UK we guarantee you remember it as clearly now as the first time you saw it!
UK Road Safety decided to leverage fear and use shock value in their marketing strategy to hit viewers hard with emotion and make them realise the importance of driving within the speed limit.
In addition, the video uses powerful statistics to back up the reason why the speed limit is 30mph on residential roads.
9. Alcohol – Know your limits
This is another shocking and memorable video ad from the UK that leaves viewers feeling all kinds of negative emotions, this one about alcohol limits rather than speed limits.
The reason this is a solid piece of effective emotional marketing is because it lulls viewers into a false sense of security by starting off with footage of people having fun and enjoying themselves on a night out. Then there’s a little bit of comedy that comes from the superhero chasing the balloon.
And finally, the video ends abruptly with the superhero (aka a drunk person) slipping, falling, and severely hurting themselves. A stark reminder to viewers that too much alcohol can make you feel invincible when you’re most vulnerable.
10. Save the Children
This emotional video from Save the Children utilised a popular social media trope (the ‘second a day’ videos) and showed just how devastating an effect war can have on the lives of civilians.
The video is made even more powerful because the horrors are being experienced through the eyes of a child, and this makes the charity’s plea more urgent.
The video ends with a very strong call to action that explains ‘just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.’ Really thought-provoking stuff, and definitely worthy of the over 70 million views it has.
11. Veterans Crisis Line
This video ad grips viewers in the first 5 seconds by dropping them straight into the action. The footage shows exactly what veterans have been through and this helps to establish the Veterans Crisis Line is an authority on this issue, and says to the target audience (veterans with PTSD): “We understand.”
The dialogue from the actor – “I’m all alone here, can’t hold on much longer” – is very touching as it works on two levels, both on the battlefield and when we see the veteran at home in his kitchen.
The call-to-action further speaks directly to veterans by talking to them in their own language when asking them to: Call for backup. This ad is a real masterclass on how to form an emotional connection with your audience.
12. John Lewis
You can’t really have a list of the best emotional marketing video examples without a John Lewis ad, can you?
There are plenty to choose from but we chose this one because it’s a classic, and because we love animation! In addition, according to Unruly, this video ranked number one on a list of the best John Lewis Christmas adverts.
Unruly used their proprietary metric EQ Score (a composite score based on the intensity of emotions viewers felt while watching, plus a campaign’s ability to drive brand metrics, such as purchase intent) and ‘Bear and the Hare’ came out on top after 48% of the viewing audience said they had an intense emotional reaction to the content.
If that wasn’t enough, this ad won TWO Clio Awards, one for film technique and one for best music. When it comes to emotional marketing efforts, this is as good as it gets!
13. Dogs Trust
This video is likely to leave a lump in the throat of all the animal lovers out there. Airing around Christmas, this ad by Dogs Trust takes the well-known phrase “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas” and twists it to create even more of an emotional impact.
The joyous scenes of families receiving adorable puppies as Christmas gifts seem innocent enough, but it becomes clear as the video progresses – and the music repeats – that something is a little off. And then of course comes the devastating reveal at the end: that all of these puppies came from puppy farms, and the breeding dogs at puppy farms are forced into a life of suffering.
This was definitely a strong way to get people’s attention at a time of year when it matters most.
14. Brooke Bond Red Label
This video by Brooke Bond Red Label was created for International Women’s Day and tells a touching tale about the breaking of stereotypes.
The candid shots of the little boy playing with an imaginary tea set are touching enough alone, but when he’s joined by a little girl and they share a tender moment it really elevates the emotion in the video.
The tea company paired their video with a hashtag, #unstereotype, which is a great way to increase the number of shares your video receives on social media.
15. British Gas
The video hits hard from the beginning. At first, viewers think they are seeing the emptiness felt by a single dad after he says goodbye to his children for another week. And while that is true, there’s sadly even more to the story.
British Gas plays with pacing really well to build emotion in this video. There’s no rush as we watch the dad go around his house and turn off all sources of energy: lights, televisions, the boiler. And then sit alone in the cold, dark house.
British Gas also cleverly makes themselves the hero in the story by ending the video with a call from one of their staff members at the British Gas Energy Trust.
As a market leader when it comes to video marketing, we know a thing or two about using emotion to get your message across in your videos.
In this animated story, we see a monster that doesn’t fit into the world he lives in… that is until he finds out about the monster singer competition.
Without a voiceover, we’ve used music, sound effects, and of course beautiful graphics and animation to convey a wide range of emotions – from loneliness through to acceptance.
Animation is a great tool to tell emotional marketing stories because it allows you to create any world and any characters you want. With animation, the only limit is your imagination.
This video from CALM really packs a punch. By collating videos from members of the public before they sadly died from suicide, the charity manages to break stigmas around depression and mental health to show viewers that suicidal doesn’t always look suicidal.
Knowing that these are the last videos of people before they took their own lives makes this a really difficult watch, but it also makes it an incredibly important video to watch too.
18. Disneyland Paris
If there’s one company that knows how to nail emotional marketing and generate emotional responses, it’s Disney. And this video ad for Disneyland Paris is no exception.
It tells the heart-warming tale of a little duckling that stumbles across a Donald Duck comic and falls in love with the character. We see the little duckling enjoying his comic through every season until he sadly loses it.
But of course, it’s Disney so there’s always a happy ending! The duckling finds himself at Disneyland Paris where he gets to meet the real Donald Duck and the video closes on the tagline: “Disneyland Paris: Where Magic Gets Real.” Superb!
McDonalds is similar to Coca Cola in that they don’t really need to market themselves to gain brand awareness anymore, but they do need to keep churning out impressive video content so that they can stay top-of-mind for their target audience and continue to forge emotional connections.
This video does a great job of that by showing a teenage boy getting his first car from his mum (her old car). It’s clear the family doesn’t have a lot and this simple gesture means a lot to him. So he returns the kindness with a simple gesture of his own: McDonalds.
This video from Pandora shows a fun and light-hearted social experiment. The question posed is simple: Can children find their mother just through the sense of touch? And of course, they all can!
It’s beautiful and heartwarming to see the reactions of both the mothers and the children, and Pandora really takes a backseat in this. The only references to the brand are subtle moments where we see the mothers wearing Pandora jewellery, and of course the logo at the end.
This emotional marketing video was very successful from the start, amassing 11 million views on YouTube and 15 million views on Facebook during the first week of its release.
There’s a lot in this Cadbury’s ad that mirrors the Marukome ad. We see a mother who is seemingly raising her child alone and working hard to provide for her. We also see the child appreciating this and wanting to do something nice for her mum.
The sweet interaction between the shopkeeper and the child also shows a moment of human emotion and connection. And, like Marukome and McDonalds, this video ad shows that even inexpensive products can give the most emotional reactions and be just as treasured as high-ticket items.
These kids rock! Using real people is always a great way to build emotional connections in your marketing campaigns and win viewers’ hearts.
This video from Microsoft initially aired during the Super Bowl and showcases the Xbox Adaptive Controller that was designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.
It’s a lovely video and really great to hear about the impact of the controller from the very people who need it and use it. The tagline at the end, “When everybody plays, we all win”, is a great message to end on.
They say never work with kids or animals, but if you want to create an emotional marketing campaign then kids and animals are great for that!
This video shows a dog’s life from a mischievous puppy to a tired old man, and Subaru features briefly in the background to remind viewers who the ad was made by.
The story is definitely what draws viewers in and keeps them around, but the call-to-action at the end is what’s going to sell more cars: Subaru. 97% still on the road after 10 years.
This video begins with something that’s quite typical to see online, a young girl posting an edited photo and getting lots of likes and comments.
But Dove then flips the script and puts everything in reverse. Taking away the comments, the likes, the filters, the make up. Everything. Until we’re left with a pre-teen girl who looks really sad.
After presenting viewers with strong visuals, the video ends on a strong message sure to stir up human emotion: The pressure of social media is hurting our girls’ self esteem.
There’s a statistic in the video description that states: “By age 13, 80% of girls distort the way they look online. Let’s change that.” The emotional campaign also features a hashtag (#TheSelfieTalk) to help get people involved and really make a difference.
This 40 second video ticks all the boxes for an emotional marketing video. It sets the scene, in this case a happy interaction between a brother and sister. Then presents the twist, in this case the sister moving away to university. It elevates the emotion by showing the brother missing his sister. And then finally culminates in a happy ending, showing the product (the Nintendo Switch) as the solution to their problem.
This is a great video to study if you’re looking to create more emotional marketing strategies. It’s sweet, simple, and gets the message across perfectly.
Phew, talk about an emotional rollercoaster! These inspirational videos really do show the breadth of emotions that can be shown in your video marketing efforts to spark a connection with viewers and hopefully gain you some new, loyal customers.
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