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

6 Ingredients Every Good Video Should Have

We have a problem. With the advancement of our everyday devices, anyone can create a “video.”

Anyone can pull out their phone and record an event or even stream something live to the internet instantly. This accessibility has flooded the online world with tons of awful content and, even worse, has flooded the minds of professionals that this is an acceptable way to market a business.

Isn’t your story worth more than that? Would you rather have a thousand videos viewed once, or one video viewed thousands of times?

One video that is compelling; a video that leaves an impression; a video that tells YOUR story. That video requires a few special ingredients.

Quality Audio

Achieving quality audio doesn’t stop at a fancy microphone. There are thousands of things to consider before capturing sound. Audio should not be an afterthought, it’s important to understand that bad audio ruins beautiful footage.

Compelling Video

B-roll isn’t simply about capturing your surroundings. Video should be treated as a tool and used to create a unique perspective for the viewer. The setting is such an important piece of any good story.

Post Production Know-How

Software know-how and expertise do not come easy. Professional-level video and audio editing software require a language of their own and their capabilities separate a professional video from a shabby home video.

Stability & Focus

A tripod seems like a simple mechanism, but using one effectively is a lot more difficult than it seems. Adding in tools like sliders, jibs and cranes adds new dimensions to a video and engages the audience.

A Story

What is a video without a story? Videos take immense planning and research. With the average viewer being constantly stimulated by other sources, it is important to consider what message will stick through all of the other media noise. Video uses two senses, sight and sound, this unique aspect of the craft can be utilized to further tell a story.


Why do those videos of a tropical paradise pull you in? Achieving that beauty isn’t just the work of the camera. Different color styles and post production effects help aid the beauty of the shot. These techniques take years to learn and much longer to master.

These examples are merely scratching the surface of how to create a video that is worth watching. Video is an art form that requires equal parts creativity and science. These ingredients aren’t found on a phone, tablet or webcam.

Those devices have their place in social media and every marketing professional should be using them. However, nothing tells your story louder or clearer than a polished composition. Consideration of all these technical aspects of video production along with professional support is the best way to get the important job of storytelling done.

Gaining the Millennial Stamp of Approval on Social Media

Engrossed in technology and well versed in the over-played marketing anthem, millennials can smell insincerity from a mile away and one artificial move from your company could be death for your brand.

Establishing authenticity and a cohesive brand voice across all social media platforms is essential in establishing trust and loyalty from millennials.

With the constant exposure to media, millennials have already witnessed the major missteps and triumphs of brands, resulting in a different set of expectations for advertisers.

With an aversion to traditional marketing methods, millennials seek relatability and authenticity from a brand. According to the 2014 Nielson Report, the top values of millennials are family, philanthropy, society, the environment and community. Use that to your advantage.

Highlight the core values and unique sentiments of your brand and create a sense of consistency across media platforms.

Start by rediscovering your organization’s roots.

What is your mission? What sets you apart from the competitor? Does your brand support any philanthropies or causes?

Answering these questions can dig up authentic content that will earn the trust of your audience and make a brand more relatable.

Even the largest corporations have a small-town story.

Take Walmart for example, which boasts “What started as a single discount store and the simple idea of selling more for less, has grown to the largest retailer in the world.” I guarantee that if one of the largest corporate giants can form a modest background story, then so can you.

Establish the tone and jargon of your brand.

Whether your brand voice is educational and serious or witty and fun, creating content that is cohesive and consistent is key to winning over the millennial generation. The internet is not 9-5, and your brand can’t be either.

Having a set of standards for your brand voice will help streamline content creation without compromising consistency. But always opt for quality posts over mass-produced quantity.

Incorporate relevant news stories into your feed.

With your brand values in mind, take a stance on appropriate media topics. A company that supports going green may chime in when a new eco-friendly bill has passed, for example. Or perhaps a brand that supports LGBT rights will invite their followers to join them at a pride parade.

When consumers look at a social media feed, it should tell a story about what the company stands for and the values it supports. Research what your specific millennial audience is into and find a way to organically incorporate that into your feed.

Utilize social media to connect to your target market.

Brands are rejected by millennials when they focus primarily on selling the product – consider the car salesmen stereotype. Instead of appearing pushy or too eager, market the aspects of the brand that differentiate you from competitors.

Don’t fear the platform, conquer it.

Even a social media novice will learn, in time, how best to navigate the digital realm. Every brand’s following is different, so a “one size fits all” solution does not apply.

Allow your brand to grow with your following, become resilient and adapt to your target market. If you see a trend and it applies, jump on it! Social media is meant to be fun.

Establishing an authentic brand voice and positive image will come with time, so be patient. Gary Vaynerchuk wasn’t built in a day.

Why You Need a Style Guide and How to Make One

Marketing is about clear communication and consequent engagement. Bad grammar, embarrassing misspellings and careless typos all erode credibility and even damage brand reputation.

Unfortunately, another enemy of effective communication often goes overlooked: inconsistency. Just as a brand needs consistency in terms of messaging, look and feel, written words – the “voice” of an organization – need to be presented in a uniform manner.

In many cases, the organization may have certain ways web and published copy is written. And a lot of the time, only the primary communicators know those styles. It’s something they keep in their heads.

Just like the copy itself, these style guidelines need to be written down.

Not only does it keep the entire staff in the know, it also helps to have a reference readily available to the main authors within the organization.

There’s no need for anything fancy: A simple Word doc should do. But, it does need to be carefully followed to ensure your voice consistently comes through no matter who has the proverbial microphone.

So, where to start?

First, familiarize yourself with the AP Stylebook, which is essentially the media industry’s bible. Organized by words and topics A-Z, it’s the spiral-bound standby for a surprisingly wide number of inquiries.

Because it is so widely accepted – most prominently by newspapers and sites – it’s a good foundation for consistency.

From there, you can dig into those quirks and preferences for your organization.

Start with Your Own Name

When crafting style guides for clients, we often start here. How will you refer to yourself on first reference? Is it a Co., Inc., or LLC? Do you tend to keep that off? And what about subsequent references? Will you always spell it out or just use the one word after the first reference? Any kind of inconsistency will disrupt your reader, so decide how you want to do it and get it on paper.


If your products or services are trademarked, create a rule for when those little ™s and ®s will be used. Will you use it in every reference? Only the first? What about headlines? As with all these self-determined rules, there’s no right or wrong way. It’s just important to pick a direction and stick with it.

Industry Terms

Do you spell out acronyms on first reference or are they widely known by your audience? Are there certain terms that are universally or nearly always capped? Identify what those words are and get them down.


Yes, commas. There’s the Oxford camp and everyone else. Choose a side.


The most common is time/date/place. Or is it place/date/time? This is one of those style gray areas where there is no established format, but you should have one. Same goes for headlines or titles: some capitalize every word, some ignore articles and/or prepositions, some lowercase two-letter words. There’s no official rule, so go with what you’re comfortable with.


Often times this will relate to job titles. Is Chief Officer always capitalized, or only before a name? If there’s no name at all, is it still capped? Do you always capitalize a certain service or department from within your organization?


This is an important place to be consistent in terms of SEO and the style guide is a great place to put them so they are always at the ready for blogs and YouTube videos. Get together a list of the keywords relevant to your business or product and create an entry in the guide. Tip: If you put these in sentence form using one long list with commas, you can cut and paste right into the post or video description!

These are just a few of many considerations to get the consistency wheels turning. Style guides are living documents that can be added to as issues arise (or before they do). Does your organization have a style guide? Any basic entries I missed? Oxford comma or no? Weigh in with a comment below!

Content Marketing World 2016: Valuable Insights to Boost Results

Convention Center - Content Marketing World

Content Marketing World 2016 was packed with amazing insights from all kinds of experts and brilliant marketers. Between the workshops, breakout sessions, keynotes, and lunch & learns, you get an entire day of valuable knowledge to take with you, your organization and your clients.

It’s nearly impossible to share every valuable nugget from Content Marketing World without writing a small book. So, here’s some of the takeaways from Content Marketing World 2016 that you should really think about …

Quality Trumps Quantity

Generally speaking, people think more is better. What’s more, people think more should be done faster and faster. Throughout Content Marketing World, a common theme was that quality beats quantity. People like Andy Crestodina, Ann Handley and tons of others focused on the importance of quality to the success of content marketing. Plus, many, including Handley, stressed the need to slow down and be more thoughtful, researched and deliberate to provide unique value to audiences and reap more meaningful business benefits.

Research Is a Key Part of Content Marketing

Content Marketing World - Expo Floor

If there is one theme that was almost universal at Content Marketing World, it is that marketing whims should die. The role of research in content marketing is vital. In fact, it’s essential. Research helps provide the who, what, when, where and why of your content marketing. It helps with topics, platforms, distribution methods, timing and so much more.

Take Margaret Magnarelli (@mmagnarelli),  Managing Editor at Monster.  She emphasized research and information gathering for optimizing effectiveness when implementing brand journalism for your organization. Without research, you are limiting your marketing decisions in a big way. This leads to the next takeaway.

Data-Driven Decisions

The data you get from various sources is incredibly valuable to your content marketing. With data, you can make smarter marketing decisions in so many areas. For instance, Igor Bielobradeck (@b2bmarketing_pl), head of digital marketing for Deloitte in Poland, pointed out how data and research improves creating editorial calendars and managing content, especially in complex organizations.

Andrew Davis, CEO of Monumental Shift and author at Brandscaping, explained how the continuous data you receive can be used to better report content marketing ROI in a simple way. This in turn helps you understand how to change to improve ROI over time. Data can help drive decisions, even those that affect creativity.

Intentional Creativity

Content Marketing World - Session Drawings

Creative genius is reserved for those special gifted few, right? Not so fast. Allen Gannet (@Allen), CEO of Track Maven, has discovered otherwise.  He shared this insight: “The things we perceive as creative brilliance are often the product of a system.” He calls it intentional creativity.

When you really look into it, your research, data, systems and formulas are used to improve creativity and content.

The winning recipe is data + people = success.

Machine Learning Is Upon Us and Ready to Take Off

When you talk about machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), you often hear references to Skynet (“Terminator” movies) or some other science fiction. Some are a little scared of it. The fact is that machine learning is here to stay and it really isn’t scary. Google uses it to help serve search results with RankBrain. In fact, while it was once used only on new search queries, it’s now being used for all queries and has become an important factor in ranking.

Paul Roetzer (@PaulRoetzer) talked about content marketing in the machine age. A key point is that machine learning and AI help take mundane, manual, labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks and replace them with high-value tasks and actions. With machine learning marketing automation, audience insights, modeling, predictions, and even content creation is taken to a different level. It elevates the role of content marketer to one that focuses on continuous enhancement instead of manual tasks. Articles are now being produced using machine learning technology. The possibilities are expanding all the time.

Social Media Business Strategy for Across Your Organization

Hollywood Squares - Content Marketing World

When content marketers think of social media, they think of using social platforms for promotion, engaging their audience, distributing content and so on. Why not implement a total social media business strategy instead? This is what Travis Wright (@TeeDubya), CMO at CCP Digital, recommends.

Use social media to get results across your organization.

We use social media to enhance the customer experience and customer service. Why not use social media for recruitment of talent? There are top prospects that are not on job boards. You can target them well at a relatively low cost and save time. Start asking how you can use social media across your organization as a social media business strategy.

SEO Trends: Intent, AI, Engagement, SERPS and Valuable Content

Let’s not forget SEO. Rand Fishkin (@RandFish), Wizard of Moz, covered seven of the latest trends in SEO that are important in 2016 and going forward. There’s a whole lot to cover. Here’s just some of it:

It’s no surprise, but Google is still the 800-pound gorilla of search. However, as Fishkin pointed out, that doesn’t mean you should ignore other search engines. YouTube is the second largest search engine. Watch for Facebook and Amazon. Take a look at DuckDuckGo. It’s experiencing fast growth. All that said, it’s important to know what’s going on with Google. They have been mixing it up with a few things.

As mentioned before, AI is here.Google has said AI and engagement are the future for them. They are becoming very good at understanding the intent of search queries and understanding when varying queries should have similar results. The better Google understands intent, the better you need to match your content to user intent. It will help your visibility and traffic.

Not only that, but Google is looking at user engagement more closely to determine if content is a good search result. Do users quickly bounce from your page after clicking on a top result? It might not be a top result for long.  All of this means that SEO and valuable content are more important than ever.

Understand How People Think to Make Content Effective

At the root of content marketing, we try to create interest and get people to take action. We want people who consume our content or visit our website to subscribe, become a member, request a quote or make a purchase.  What better way to improve your content marketing across the board than to understand how the human brain works and how people think? Tim Ash (@Tim_Ash) shared eye-opening information about how the brain works and why it doesn’t make sense to sell to the  logical brain. In short, the human brain is comprised of three parts. It’s wired to first react, then feel, then reason (conscious thinking).

About 95 percent of all thought is pre-conscious. Therefore, selling to the logical brain isn’t effective. It’s a fascinating subject that content marketers should learn.

Relevance Is the Name of the Game

Content Marketing World - Scott Stratten

Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) of UNmarketing offered his unique take on content marketing. Although he had a lot of great thoughts to offer, the underlying theme was relevance. It’s not just about your topic. Relevance goes well beyond that. Are the platforms you are using relevant to your specific audience? Are you using the latest platform because it’s the latest shiny object? Stop.

He called out live video. People feel compelled to do it, but is that platform relevant? He said that it was highly relevant to stream a musical performance, but, for many, live video is just another opportunity to make an unneeded mistake that will reflect on the brand poorly. Relevance goes deeper than most think. And it starts with getting down to the fundamentals. In a funny moment, he said that people feel like they have to do everything new in 2016, but he’d love to see people get 2003 stuff right first. Marketers really think about relevance. Are you relevant to your audience from moment they are introduced to your content through to the customer experience?

The Takeaway on Content Marketing World Takeaways

These takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much to learn at Content Marketing World. It was a great event with a ton of nonstop information that leaves you excited to put it into action.