Appeal to the Emotions for Effective Radio Commercials

Written By

Liz Iversen

Published On

Wednesday, Jun 08
African american woman in a light blue shirt dancing while wearing white headphones.

Marketers know that great creative is important. According to Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group, “50-70% of the sales driven by your advertising comes from the creative.” 

So how can marketers enhance the effectiveness of their creative? In a recent blog post, Bouvard turned to the research of “creativity and marketing effectiveness giants” to answer that question. Here are some of his key takeaways:


Ads should create familiarity, positive emotion, and make things easy to process.

According to Les Binet of communications agency adam&eveDDB, the job of advertising is to make your brand easy to think of and easy to buy, and to create positive feelings and associations via broad reach ads that people find interesting and enjoyable.


Consumers are more engaged with audio than video.

A recent study of consumers’ physiological responses to audio and video showed that audio outperforms video in engaging consumers. Because consumers must utilize their imaginations to generate images from audio ads, audio ads require greater cognitive and emotional processing than video and are physiologically more engaging.


Emotion-based creative builds stronger brands and generates greater business outcomes.

There are two approaches to advertising campaigns: 

  • Rational: Campaigns with promo codes, sales, and limited time offers, and information about where to buy products.
  • Emotional: Focus on storytelling and making people feel positively about your brand or service.

Binet and Field studied thousands of campaigns and found that emotional campaigns yield stronger long-term business effects, driving slightly higher sales. But emotional campaigns and rational campaigns were equally effective at attracting new customers.


Positive emotional responses lead to a positive evaluation of choice.

“If you can generate positive emotional responses for your brand, that will lead to a positive choice for your company,” said Bouvard. 

Though there are two approaches to advertising—rational and emotional—we at SMI believe that the most effective ads artfully combine the two. That is why we unite storytelling with direct-to-consumer messaging to strengthen your brand’s memorability and drive response.

Additionally, we know that emotion does help sell products, and though positivity often works, we have seen success with ads that run a wide spectrum of emotions, from fear panic, and despair to relief and joy. According to SMI Copywriter Payne Ratner, “Emotions are as complicated as the people who experience them and rarely, if ever, singular. Consider great novels. How many of those invoke simply positive emotions? But they are all vividly remembered.”

The seed of great advertising is great storytelling. Determining which story will evoke the emotions that will most resonate with potential consumers is a skill based on both experience and intuition. It is a skill SMI’s creative team has honed. 


Are you ready to reach consumers through storytelling on an engaging medium? Invest in great audio with Strategic Media, Inc. today.

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