Why Joy Is An Advertiser’s Best Friend

Why is it that we are so much more likely to keep watching a video that makes us smile?

In the world of video advertising, joy is arguably the most important and influential emotion. Studies have shown that joy significantly impacts viewer engagement, video completion rate, message retention, brand recognition, purchase intent, and overall success of an ad. Ads that evoke joy are also far more likely to be shared via social media than ads that trigger any other emotion.

Advertisers know this of course, which is why joy marketing is everywhere: from TV commercials, to video ads, social media ads, banner ads, billboards, magazines, pop-up ads on our cell phones, etc… Joy is the most common emotion in advertising today. But what exactly is the best way to utilize it in your ads?

Top Ads That Elicit Joy

The concept of joy marketing is really simple: Essentially, it’s any marketing video, image, or campaign that elicits joy or pleasure from viewers.

Joy marketing is all about the little moments in life, like a boy snuggling with his puppy, or a mother seeing her baby daughter walk for the first time – these are the moments that warm our hearts.

Joy is considered one of the biggest factors in measuring the overall success of an ad, and ads that effectively trigger joy have several things in common:

  • They influence viewers to keep watching a video
  • They are highly memorable
  • They increase the likelihood that viewers develop positive associations with the brand

We’ve pulled together a list of highly successful joy-based ads to show how powerful joy marketing can be and to highlight some of the best practices for using joy to connect and engage with target audiences, Check out them out below! We promise they’ll put you in a better mood.

1. “Puppyhood” –  Purina

Purina’s immensely popular Puppyhood commercial captured over 17 million views on YouTube. This 3.5 minute video tells the story of a single man who adopts a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, which he names Chloe. It’s a delightful video that humorously depicts the joys and difficulties of owning a dog. Throughout the video, we see the man and his pup slowly becoming acquainted with one another as he introduces Chloe to his apartment, shows her some of his favorite music, how to play the piano, what she can eat, and where she can go to the bathroom. They experience one small hiccup together, but through it all, the man’s love for his pooch only grows stronger, as does the bond they share. One can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy while watching him and his new best friend settle into life together–which is exactly how Purina wants you to feel.

As we discuss in the “10 Ways to Evoke Joy in Your Marketing Videos,” one of the key ways to successfully evoke joy is to draw viewers in by focusing on the human experience (in this case human/animal experience) instead of just the product. Your ad should tell a story that features the product, rather than one that’s about the product. Purina Puppy Chow does a great job of telling a story that focuses on something many people can relate to: adopting a pet, rather than just listing off the benefits of Puppy Chow. The product doesn’t appear until halfway through the ad, and only after we’re emotionally invested in the man and his dog. It also doesn’t hurt that the puppy is super cute.

2. “Friends Furever” – Android

Another great example of joy marketing is Android’s Friends Furever, which garnered over 30 million views on YouTube and is the biggest viral video of all time. As I’ve mentioned previously, this ad made viewers 4 times happier than any other ad from 2015. The video features unlikely animal companions playing together (i.e. a dog & elephant, a bear & tiger, a chimp & dog, etc), displaying the universal power of love and friendship. There are so many joyful moments in this 30 second spot; from the dog using a stroller with a cat, to the bear and tiger play-fighting, and a dog and deer playing tag. The video perfectly incorporates Android’s tag line, “Be Together. Not The Same,” without focusing on the product.

As with the Purina ad, the Android video spot centers around animal friendships and “cuteness.” This shared commonality is no surprise, as “animal bonding” (whether animal to animal or animal to human) is one of the most popular and effective strategies for evoking joy. How effective? Look no further than Purina and Android’s millions of YouTube views.

3. “Happiness Machine” – Coca-Cola

Advertisers know that showing happy faces is one of the most powerful strategies for increasing ad likeability and purchase intent. In fact, ads that feature people smiling have been shown to significantly increase purchase intent. This Coca-Cola video ad does a great job of evoking joy by focusing on people smiling and laughing. In this video, a Coke vending machine keeps delivering “doses” of happiness to college students in surprising ways.

At 20 seconds in, we see a young woman place coins into the machine. She receives one bottle of Coke, then another, and another, and another until she has so many Cokes that she starts giving them away to the other students as they react with cheers and laughter. This vending machine is truly the gift that keeps on giving! It doesn’t only give free Cokes either. As the video continues, the machine dispense everything from flowers, to balloons, to pizza, and even a giant sandwich! We see the students become more and more excited, with one student even stopping to hug the machine.

Coke does a fantastic job of focusing the ad around making people happy, rather than drinking their beverage. When we see all the joy that the Coke machine brought to the students, we can’t help but share in that joy as well, and even feel some appreciation for Coke, which is probably why the ad has almost 30,000 likes and over 8 million views on YouTube.

4. “Christmas Miracle”- WestJet

While joy is one of the best ways to keep viewers engaged in your videos, surprise is the best way to capture attention. In fact, recent research confirms that the brain responds much more strongly to events that are unanticipated. When viewers experience strong feelings of both joy and surprise while watching a video, they are even more likely to watch the entire thing. Like the Coke ad, this commercial for WestJet, a Canadian airline, evokes joy and surprise.

When the ad begins, we see an interactive video Santa asking WestJet Airline passengers what they want for Christmas. The video then cuts to WestJet employees taking notes and rushing to shop for their gifts while Christmas music plays. We then see the passengers in flight and the WestJet employees wrapping gifts. The most joyful moments happen when the passengers arrive at their destination to find their wrapped gifts at baggage claim. From the shocked look on the child’s face as he receives an Android tablet, to the tears in the woman’s eyes when she receives a camera, the reactions of the families are priceless as they unwrap the gifts. This ad not only captured over 40 million views on YouTube, it also generated an 86% increase in sales for WestJet from the previous year, an astonishing ad success story.

5. “Wiener Stampede” – HEINZ Ketchup

The last example is the Heinz Ketchup Super Bowl ad, “Wiener Stampede.” This fun, outlandish commercial shows a group of wiener dogs dressed as hot dogs running towards humans dressed in Heinz condiment costumes. Hilarity ensues. The ad begins with the wiener dogs running in slow motion toward a group of people dressed as Ketchups while Harry Nilson’s “Without You” plays in the background. The people urge the dogs on until finally the dogs reach them and playfully jump all over them. Then we see closeups of the people smiling and laughing while the dogs lick their faces.

The ad was part of the Heinz campaign: “Meet the Ketchups,” and does an excellent job of showcasing the brand. In 2016, according to YouGov Brandindex, this ad ranked first in having purchase intent among consumers and ranked first in purchase intent. As we’ve seen with several of these videos, the combination of joy, humor, and surprise connects with viewers on a deeper level, and generates positive engagement and brand association.

What do all these ad spots have in common?

They all focus on evoking joy rather than solely selling the product, and they keep viewers engaged in the video. Whether they use humans, animals, or a vending machine to tell a story, these ads are successful because they make people smile and demonstrate that joy is a powerful strategy for improving overall ad performance. This is important because positive emotions drive an increase in brand association and likeability, which heightens purchase intent and drives brand sales and success. People associate feelings of happiness with these brands, which creates a strong, and enduring emotional bond. Joy marketing proves that when it comes to successful advertising, a happy customer makes all the difference.

This post by Danielle Yannotti originally appeared on the blog of ABC Creative Group partner Dumbstruck