Yes, I’m Crying… I’m Doing Research!

I read a LinkedIn post the other day about how P&G tapped a familiar emotional vein once again for their Olympic advertising by creating another heart-tugging ad about moms of athletes. The author explores a principle that’s central to all that we do at BuzzBack: to cement consumer hearts to brands, you’ve got to get at the consumers’ underlying emotions and subconscious associations.

What struck me about the piece and the highlighted ad in particular was that the emotional associations in the context of the Olympics are notably more poignant, wistful and tear-inducing. This is in complete contrast to our recent study on consumer attitudes toward Super Bowl spots. In the context of the Big Game, respondents said that funny and lighthearted ads were the most memorable and engaging.

Why the difference? Does the gladiator atmosphere of a rough and violent game of championship football require a psychological counterpoint of lightheartedness to be memorable and distinctive? And does the inherent sentimental journey of national hopefuls to the Olympics, achieving a childhood dream fueled by motherly love, need to make grown women cry to achieve a lasting brand connection? And what is it about the Olympics that make these raw emotions bubble up so effortlessly? For a researcher these are irresistible areas to explore.

Hmmm, I wonder what our study would’ve revealed had we prompted respondents to consider the Olympics rather than the Super Bowl. Maybe people would rather pass the tissues than the nachos while watching? I guess we’ll have to wait 2 more years to find out. What do you think?