Emotional triggers: Lessons from Movember for a successful campaign at The Drum and The Sun Arms

The Sun Emotions panel

A brand that has managed to provoke the intended form of reaction from its audience can usually call its campaign a success. Now, with emerging data points and a team of strategists and creatives working together to build a successful campaign, the task to pull a consumer’s emotional strings should be made much easier.

But in a world where consumers are not easily fooled and quick to react to a poorly thought-out campaign – how can brands achieve the right balance? And more importantly, what emotional triggers tend to reap the best rewards?

These were the themes a panel consisting of Mark Field, director of The Bridge Studio at News UK; Henry Daglish, founder at Bountiful Cow; and Helena Jennison, marketing and communications director Europe at Movember came to discuss at The Drum and The Sun Arms panel in London.

Below are the highlights.

A fine line between provocation and over-stepping

Getting a reaction from the audience is crucial to drive engagement and achieve campaign objectives, but how far is too far? For Bountiful Cow’s Daglish it is important to be provocative and he cited their partnership with Rosemary Water, a brand run by a “very interesting entrepreneur” who makes decisions “on gut instinct” as an example.

“It’s product claims that it is good for your mental health and can help you live longer, with some good scientific basis behind it. But if you look at their advertising, they are always treading a line,” he said. “In their TV ad, there is a woman age 100 drinking rosemary water and by the end of the ad, she’s become 30 again. They are trying to drive a reaction and it’s working."

Giving the publisher’s point of view, News UK’s Field added that trying to be provocative in a world of fake news has made it more challenging.

“We have to be mindful about the execution because the audience place an enormous amount of trust in us. You have to be either really overt and fun or you could completely get it wrong and get a bad reaction. Sometimes we have to turn down briefs because we know it won’t work in a news environment,” he said.

Emotion as a powerful tool to save lives

Sometimes all it takes is using an emotional statement to create powerful messages and even enforce change in mental wellbeing and societies. The discussion turned to News UK and Sky Media’s partnership with charity Movember, to reduce a disproportionately high number of suicide rates among young men. How did they tap into the emotional responses of men to not only raise awareness but to help stop these men from dying?

For News UK’s Field, it was important to first look at emotional drivers for men in the hopes to get them to talk more. Essentially; win their hearts and minds. “When you think about men, what are the emotions you need to elicit? Men often respond most when they are inspired to do something and when they have a sense of self-worth and pride which comes from them feeling like they are contributing.”

Movember’s Jennison agreed and added that these emotional cues often have a powerful knock-on effect which leads to other amazing stories. She gave the example of a conversation about mental health that took place between three famous footballers talking candidly about their battle with depression and how it nearly took Paul Merson’s life.

“Paul Merson started talking about his own experience and I don’t think the other guys even knew the level of detail. It was an incredible moment and an amazing piece of content that were able to use and the engagement was phenomenal – because people don’t expect footballers to have these issues,” she said.

Communications agency Bountiful Cow also worked on the campaign. Speaking about the challenges, Bountiful Cow’s Daglish spoke about the importance of delivering the emotional messages at the right time.

“We had a total of 45 days to get people connected and understand why they want to do it. Getting lots of views is great, but our challenge was to get 25,000 sign-ups and we got over 50,000 in the end.”

Overall, the panel agreed pulling the emotional triggers of consumers is easy – walking that fine line between provocation while keeping your brand image safe is not. But executed correctly, great content can deliver amazing emotional responses leading to positive changes in society. Just get the formula right.

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