Universal emotions. Local interpretations.
For a long time when it comes to international advertising strategy, we often think that emotional advertising would travel better than rational ones. Many people are convinced that certain emotions are shared around the world. Over the years, there were outstanding examples to convince us of this theory. We learnt it from Coca Cola’s ‘Open Happiness’ platform to Johnson & Johnson’s classic ‘Language of love’ brand campaign. P&G’s ‘Thank you Mama’ was destined to go global; and John Lewis ‘The journey’ (featuring the song ‘Power of Love’) Christmas promotion is becoming an annual highlight nationally.
We know for a fact that people don’t like thinking about complex set of choices. Decision-making is primarily an emotional thing. We tend to ask ourselves things like ‘which do I like best?’ first, and emotions guide and simplify these decisions making. Of course we have to understand that not all communication channels need to be emotional driven. Certain media, like TV, is especially good in creating emotions. After all, nobody thinks when they watch a TV commercial, people feel.
A study on the emotional branding in Australia found that emotionally attached consumers purchase substantially more. In fact, brands can expect 40% to 60% greater yield from those consumers who had an emotional attachment with them. In UK, statistics had shown that brands that had successfully created long-term benefits through emotional advertising could achieve 5 times return on investment.
However, are all emotions universal? Can we tap into the same emotion for a brand no matter which market it advertised in? The answer is yes and no. In a sense that the overriding emotion could be universal, but underneath it the driver could very well be different. The question is, how can we adapt it subtly to make it more relevant to the local culture? As creatives we need to understand what moves local people and what are the contemporary interpretations in order to contextualise it appropriately.
Two recent campaigns from Hong Kong had demonstrated that there are much more dimensions to the ‘basic emotions’ as exploited by some of the most powerful global brands. They tried to go deeper, and found a different angle. They also have taken the risks by only focusing on creating that ‘feeling’ with the consumers, doing something totally different during the ‘gift-giving season’ when every brand is simply putting on a smiling face.
Solvil et Titus, a Hong Kong based Swiss watch brand, had a long history in producing some of the most memorable brand advertising riding on the emotion of love. In the 2012 version it conveys the message that you can’t put a ‘time limit’ when it comes to love. TSL Jewellery’s brand campaign gives the fairy tale perfect kind of love a dramatic twist with the themeline ‘To love, is to love forever’. Coincidently, both brands talk about ‘commitment’ rather than simply ‘passion and romance’.
How do these commercials make you feel? For those of you who don’t know these brands, will the ways how they interpret ‘enduring love’ work in your market? How would you reinterpret it? I’ll let you judge it yourself.
Solvil et Titus ‘100 years’ 鐵達時 「100年之約」
TSL ‘To love, is to love forever’ 謝瑞麟 「要愛，就要愛下去」