We’ve been talking about emotion selling products for so long now, that it’s almost become second nature to most brands. Create a story, tell the narrative, use emotion and create experinces for your consumers and eventually, they will buy. However, a recent report from Marketing Week highlights that in some instances brands have invested in customer experience and they’ve seen sales dip. It’s not paying off anymore. It got us thinking, is it just a temporary lull in sales, or are consumers cottoning on to the fact that brands are essentially trying to manipulate their emotions and they’re no longer buying? And if that is the case, do we give up on our emotional stories and hit them with the traditional hard sell?

A few weeks ago we wrote about the recent Trivago campaign and how it was as basic as you could get, but how it also was a phenomenal success, and now looking back we’re wondering if that was a premonition to the next trend to hit the advertising world. Maybe it is time to strip it all back, take away the bells and whistles and just tell people what the product is. McDonalds recently did this in their coffee advert, poking fun at the culture of customer experience and instead, delivered a great coffee without all the fuss. Using humour to insinuate that if the product is good enough, it will sell itself.

After much debate in the house of Live & Breathe, incidentally, over many cups of coffee, the prevailing thought was this; we can’t do without the emotion because we’ve gone too far down the garden path to turn back now. Even if we could, we don’t think we would. Whether we like it or not, and regardless of the dips in performance that inevitably will come, emotion is the foundation of everything we do. Even the McDonalds advert is using humour and peoples’ frustration with hipster culture to create a sell. There is a clear emotional pull, and emotion doesn’t mean weeping over the latest heartbreak advert. It’s often something that resonates within us to create a feeling of affinity with a brand. But a feeling is what it does indeed create.

If brands start churning out advertising campaigns that hark back to ye olde days of television when a gruff voice over hurriedly described the product in thirty seconds or less, the chances are that sales will plummet. Because advertising today isn’t about grabbing attention like it once was. If attention was all you had to get you’d be laughing all the way to the bank. Instead, we’re tasked with winning hearts and minds. Engaging consumers in ways we haven’t previously, as well as trying to get their attention in a world that is nosier than it has ever been. Describing a product just won’t cut it.

Emotion will. Some kind of shared feeling. A connection. A community that bands together in their frustrations. A sense of belonging and family. Something, that tells people you are not alone, we all feel like this, and we’re a brand that will help you feel better. That’s essentially what it all comes down to, and you can strip back your advertising and marketing strategies all you like, but you still need to covey those feelings if you hope to shift your product off the shelves.