When Commercials Pull at Your Heartstrings

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Screenshot from Thai Insurance commercial

Image courtesy of youtube.com

Every once in a while, a commercial airs that leaves a strong impact on our hearts. These commercials don’t focus on a product or a service, but rather on a social issue. On September 19, Budweiser released a “responsible drinking” ad to the world. Immediately after its release, people fell in love with the short story involving the man and his dog. In just 4 days, the advertisement has reached over 10 million views on YouTube. Why? Because the well thought out story hits us right where it hearts, via the feelings of a cute, innocent dog. The commercial’s plot revolves around a young man raising a dog from pup to adult. The commercial starts with scenes showing the odd couple experiencing life together. After 20 seconds, we see the man leave with friends, holding a six pack of beer in his hand and saying, “See you later, buddy.” Here is where things start to get really sad. We see the dog sit and wait through the night. After an intentionally long pause, we can tell that the owner is not coming home. A text appears on the screen saying, “For some, the waiting never ended.” However, as our eyes are blurred from the tears, we are gifted with a twist. The owner opens the door in the morning, and tells the dog that he decided not to drive after drinking. Budweiser hit a branding home run with this commercial because of the emotional impact it has on audiences. Budweiser does a fantastically successful job of portraying sincerity while not appearing salesy. In fact, you will only see Budweiser products throughout the commercial if you look very closely. In an effort to hop on the sincerity wagon, an advertisement for a life insurance company in Thailand was successful in creating a heartwarming message. The video’s success was proven in its massive view count of 6 million. Not only was this video heartwarming and sad at the same time, it also promotes good will towards fellow human beings, which makes it even more impactful. The commercial focuses around young men in school. A group of boys, seen as bullies, constantly make fun of a quiet boy, trying to learn how to play the guitar. Throughout the commercial, the bullies see the boy on the street trying to make money for his mom who suffers from cancer. One of the boys then decides to help the quiet teen by tuning his guitar and playing with him. At the end of the commercial, the quiet teen can be seen with his mother, who seems to be getting better. This commercial is another example of when the right footage with the right message can proliferate video views. This commercial mixed two common issues that many people face throughout life, bullying and health concerns. As far as sales for these two brands are concerned, it is too soon to tell. However, these ads are spreading like wildfire across the internet. Sales directly impact the important bottom line, but brand exposure is just as important, if not more so. Without effective brand exposure, how are potential customers expected to discover the wonders your brand has to offer? So if brands are looking to gain exposure, perhaps they should try the popular method of heart-string pulling. It seems to have worked for beverage companies and insurance agencies alike.