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Dec 22, 2015    Burn Book

Stop Trying To Make Us Cry


On the Rock Candy Media blog, I try give you insight into what it’s like being one of the best advertising agencies in Austin. I like you guys and I want your marketing campaigns to succeed; I’m big hearted like that. Unfortunately, sometimes my big heart comes under friendly fire from my own kind, especially around the holidays. That’s why I’m calling for an end to this nonsense: Other advertisers, you’re on official notice – stop trying to make us cry.

You know the kind of ads that I’m talking about – soft music, kids or puppies (or both) and a warm, loving family doing something banal that the advertiser wants you to think is tear-jerking. No offense to anyone who’s ever cried at a commercial (we’ve got some sensitive types around here, too) but these kind of ads really underestimate their audience and they don’t make you want to buy anything.

Advertising is all about eliciting a particular emotion, but, unless you’re working for a charity, you generally want to keep the heartstring tugging to a gentle pull. Why? Because the emotion overwhelms the message. In the minds of the audience, it becomes “the ad that makes me cry” or “the ad that annoys me by trying too hard to make me cry,” rather than “the ad I like for product X.” Much like star anise, a little emotion goes a long way.

That’s not to say that we’re a cynical lot at Rock Candy Media. I have plenty of clients who do genuinely heartwarming things – provide medical care to people, rescue animals, or help small business owners – and we highlight that when appropriate. Our campaigns can even get a little sappy from time to time. The thing is, our clients have earned it. When you’re a doctor who actually saves someone’s life there’s actual emotional significance to what you do. If you’re trying to sell a luxury car, the emotional appeals ring a little hollow.

So, advertisers of the world, please stop stuffing forced emotion into us like so many holiday turkeys. Non-advertisers, If you’re interested in a marketing and advertising campaign that doesn’t annoy people, give us a call. Our branding, messaging and design experts will cook up something for you that won’t be lost like tears in rain.

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