Make a person think something, and they’ll know what to do. Make a person feel something, and they’ll do without thinking.

Emotions are some of the strongest forces in nature. I’m sure Newton wasn’t considering them when defining his Law of Inertia, but it works in the same way with people. A mind at rest can be compelled to great action by a surge of adrenaline, and a mind in action can be shut down by deep sadness. Often this force overcomes even the strongest logical reasoning. Think about it. How many times have you heard, “Love is irrational”?

The Visa commercials during the Olympics are always fantastic examples of emotional appeals. Watch this one again:

The first thing I noticed is how the advertisement really isn’t about Visa. In my first post, I mentioned how Axe uses the same strategy in many of it’s commercials. This commercial promotes Michael Phelps and has the company logo at the very end. So why is it compelling? If the commercial makes you proud to be an American, you’ll look favorably upon Visa.

Note: This isn’t just an American phenomenon. Visa actually ran different commercials of a similar nature in many countries.  You can check out their Youtube page to see others.

The content of the ad creates this emotional reaction. It shows a video from a time when most Americans who were watching felt anxious, excited, nervous, etc. Every time you watch that commercial, you relive that moment and the emotions that came with it.

It also adds Morgan Freeman’s voice. A large part of nonverbal communication is known as paralinguistic, or vocalics. This is everything that happens when we talk aside from the words we say, things like voice quality, volume and pitch. Morgan Freeman’s deep voice and slow rate of speech mirror techniques used by hypnotists to put people in trances. Trances leave people open to suggestions, especially emotional ones. This article from a hypnosis expert explains how you can create that effect yourself.

Finally, the commercial has some nice, inspirational music playing softly in the background. People tend to agree that music communicates emotion, and Visa uses it for that purpose. These elements work together for an effective appeal.

Thanks for reading another exciting post on Prescribing Reality! Stay tuned for more adventures. Don’t know how? Well, if you go to my home page, you’ll find a button on the right side that let’s you follow my blog. You can also follow me on Twitter @IllusionofMatt. My feed updates every time I post new content. If you have any questions or comments, I love hearing from you. Just post them below.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite. – Matt