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SXSW Interactive 2015

SADvertising: Why Tears are the New Tactic

It’s time to stop blaming the onions and admit it, todays’ ads and online videos are making us cry. There seems to be an increasing desire among marketers to move from the funny, sexy, aspirational associations with their brands in favor of making a connection with their consumer with an emotional gut punch. From Skype’s stirring story of two girls whose friendship flourished half a world away, to Swiffer’s inspirational look into the domestic life of a disabled man, emotional content is only growing stronger as a teary trend in the advertising landscape. We’re moved, but do we act?

And what’s fueling this trend? Why is more value being placed on true story content that promises a good cry? Hear from brands and advertisers on both sides of the (sob) story to learn when sentiment trumps logic and how to incite that deeper connection without being emotionally manipulative. We’ll discuss the role that social sharing and technology play while maybe—just maybe—shedding a tear or two.

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  1. How and why are brands shifting towards this emotional content over previous notions that campaigns should be funny or sexy?
  2. Are emotional topics an effective tool in connecting a consumer to a brand?
  3. Are these ads only successful if they are based off actual, true occurrences?
  4. How does online social sharing factor into the success of these campaigns?
  5. What are some compelling recent examples of emotional or sad subjects being used in a major consumer campaign?



Meg Rushton, Director, PR and Social Media, Ad Council

Meta Information:

  • Tags: social media, marketing
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Branding and Marketing
  • Level: Beginner
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