The Ace Metrix Breakthrough ad list highlights several marketing tactics that resonate with consumers and underscores the need for marketers to make an emotional connection in their campaigns. Many of the top-rated ads included cause-driven messaging, deep storytelling or highly visual elements. Consumers, especially younger age groups, feel especially connected to causes, and research has shown that they show a stronger likelihood to purchase from brands that support the causes important to them.
For example, Huggies, Dove and HP’s focus on fathers and the impact they have on their children’s lives earned them high marks for likeability and attention. Dove’s Father’s Day campaign #DearFutureDads, which focused on the issue of paid paternity leave, particularly resonated with women, with 43% saying they were “very likely” to share the ad in their social circles, according to the news release. Dove previously made the list in Q2 2016 with another Father’s Day campaign, “Caring Makes My Dad, My Hero.” Huggies’ “Father’s Day Hugs” drew a strong emotional response from 77% of viewers.
Tugging at consumers’ heartstrings and taking on an important social cause might resonate, but it can be a risky move for marketers. Brands can sometimes take the sentimentality too far, especially when targeting millennials, who expect brands to represent something deeper. Ads that communicate a brand’s values and social purpose performed the best in a separate Ace Metrix study. Ads that appeal to a consumer’s conscience and encourage them to take an action performed the worst.