Love Makes The (Ad) World Go ‘Round

“For more years than I can remember I have used the same shampoo: Head & Shoulders. Ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean it’s a shampoo to remove dandruff, which it does. But I’ve no hair, let alone dandruff! Still, I love Head & Shoulders. I won’t buy or use anything else.”

47505627 - portrait happy man sending love sms text message on mobile phone with red hearts flying away from screen isolated on grey wall background. human emotions

This is a quote from the book Lovemarks, used to exemplify what it means to love a brand or product – an emotional reaction epitomizing why companies market products. The author of the book, Kevin Roberts (CEO Saatchi & Saatchi) states the end goal of advertising is to have customers saying “I love [insert brand name here]” and meaning it in their heart of heart.

Don’t believe a person can feel real love for an inanimate product? Try taking away a teen’s cellphone as punishment for a day and tell me that they don’t instantly feel their world crashing down on them.

Marketers who know the power of love constantly use it to persuade customers. Below is a list of some of the most obvious and/or manipulative examples where advertisers did just that.

Be warned that once you see a few of these examples and start paying attention to advertising, you’ll notice the concept of love referenced all the time.

Subaru (Dog)Starting with the sappiest commercial of this century. Clearly designed to pull at viewers’ heartstrings, encouraging them to seize the day. Subaru’s tagline is, “Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru” and boy do they milk that slogan for all its worth. Here is another ad by Subaru to suit your fancy if dogs don’t appeal to you: Subaru (Father-Daughter)

Lowe’s – Don’t need to watch more than 15 seconds of this three-minute commercial to know exactly where they are going with it. In summary, it is a story of two youngsters and their personified houses falling in… you guessed it… love! Tagline is: “Sometimes all a house needs is a little love.”

Extra (Proposal) – Another set of commercials competing for sappiest advertising of all time. The best part is when the young love-birds are fighting and then make up over a stick of Extra gum (0:50). Pretty sure no time in history has an argument ever been resolved that way. Like Subaru ads above, here is an alternative Father-Daughter version regarding a similar concept.

Apologies for the cynicism, but the list above skips over myriads of qualifying advertisements for jewelry, baby-products, pet-products, and travel products. It’s just too easy to spot their blatant exploitation of humans’ desire to attain love. A stronger sense of genuineness would bode their brand well, but one feels this topic more appropriate for a future blog post.

Try spotting more marketing attempts to manipulate viewers into feeling love over a product, and share with us. My guess is that it won’t take you long!

Lee Sumner, Sr. Research Manager