It’s a truism in sales that customers make up their minds on the basis of emotions and rationalize their decisions with reason. That principle holds true in most types of communication where you’re trying to win people over – regardless if it’s for a product, a service or a point of view.
A good example is the remarkable commercial that Google ran during the Super Bowl. It managed to take the techie tool of a search engine and make a wonderful emotional connection with it. I decided to compare it to how Microsoft is promoting its new bing search tool in its commercials.
The differences start with the basic style of production. In the initial commercial that launched bing, a narrator hypes the contrast between a search engine and a “decision engine.” The second commercial illustrates the frustration that people can experience with the “overload syndrome” that bing suggests they get with the typical search engine. Both spots are well done and attempt to strike an emotional chord, but they still lean more toward the rational end of the spectrum.
The Google commercial, on the other hand, has no narration, just poignant music and simple, engaging visuals that show someone going through various links on the Google site as he makes his way through a series of moving moments in his life. It brilliantly takes the rational experience of online searching and “humanizes” Google much more effectively than the bing ones do for Microsoft.
The effect is similar to the Anheuser-Busch commercial that shows soldiers coming home from the Middle East. As they come off the plane and walk through the airport, spontaneous applause breaks out from strangers waiting for other flights – no narration, just moving music and appreciative faces conveying a very touching moment.
When I went to YouTube to look at the AB commercial again, I got a version that was followed by a news report of soldiers coming home and being reunited with their families. Naturally, that amplified the impact of the commercial, and it showed how well “news” can be linked with “promotion” to create a one-two punch of emotional impact.
By the way, YouTube numbers show that the Google commercial has been viewed more than 4 MILLION times since it was posted after the Super Bowl. Compare that to the 72,000 views of the bing intro spot and 170,000 view of their “overwhelm” commercial – over a much longer period of time. Does that say something about how people respond to the emotional versus the rational? Check them out yourself – and remember those contrasts the next time you’re trying to win the hearts and minds of any stakeholder – inside or out.
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