It’s time to sell a block of cheese!

Not just any cheese. Velveeta.

(Which is leftover swiss cheese bits and whey. Mmm.)

So, what do you do? How do you interest people?

Here’s how they did it in this 1960’s Velveeta ad:

Copy for Velveeta ad

The ad re-creates a moment many mothers are sure to have felt: a day spent rushing around, trying to get everything ticked off her list, taking care of her children and then being confronted with the task of trying to make something fast, easy and delicious for her family. Who has the time or energy to make a roux for macaroni and cheese?

But look! Here’s a simple solution that gets me. It appreciates me.

Plus, it speeds up cooking time and is oh so versatile!

Sounds wonderful.

And what’s this? It’s “full of health,” making it “extra good for youngsters and young mothers.”

You know we buy based on emotion and justify with logic.
But do you know why?

In the SAGE Handbook of Advertising, Dr. Gerard Tellis writes:

“Emotions are direct reactions to the stimulating atmosphere that is being created by the artistic execution known as an ad.”

So whether it’s through sadness, joy, excitement, frustration—writing copy that teases out emotions helps prime readers for your solution.

Studies show that one’s emotional response to ads impacts intent to buy by a factor of 3-to-1 for television ads and 2-to-1 for print ads.

And certain emotions produce even stronger results. Stories with undertones of anger, anxiety and awe were the most widely shared pieces on the New York Times website, as indicated in a study by two University of Pennsylvania professors.

Stories with undertones of anger, anxiety and awe get shared most, by @kaleighf on @copyhackers
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Emotion sells.

Take the following ASPCA ad. Rather than speaking to positive emotions and benefits that donating to their organization can bring – healthy dogs playing fetch – they take the sadness angle. They arouse strong feelings of guilt and anxiety for these sad-looking animals. Cue Sarah McLachlan, in case you weren’t already moved enough…

ASPCA ad copy

BTW, here’s how to sponsor a little one

As much as you may find yourself rushing to change the channel (for shame!) after the third time an ASPCA commercial interrupts your viewing of The Voice, the marketing itself proves out. It works. Poking at raw emotions works to the tune of $142M per year for the ASPCA (as reported here for fiscal year 2013).

We see fundraisers for non-profits use this tactic all the time.

An AMA Journal of Marketing Research study tested 3 different emotion-inspiring photos in a fundraising campaign: sad, happy, neutral. They found that the sad photos produced a 25% higher response rate than happy or neutral photos.

Emotional advertising

sad photos bring in 25% more cash than happy or neutral ones, by @kaleighf via @copyhackers
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Emotional copywriting is widely used in the for-profit sector, too. Has been for decades.

Consider Budweiser’s 2015 SuperBowl ad. This little 60-second spot played up the “Awww!” factor with its #BestBuds lost puppy ad. Any surprise it was named the #1 commercial of 2015 by USA Today (and has over 29M YouTube views)?