Six Ads That Went Viral Because They Preyed on our Emotions

Advertisers have figured out how to use social media to their advantage: create a video that will go viral. How to do this? Mask the advertisement behind sentimentalities, belief systems, and emotions. Focus the ad on a relevant issue that amps people up.

Advertisers are smart. They’ve undoubtedly tapped into our social media psyches. They reap the benefits of Western society’s insatiable need to share every thing on every social media outlet.

I’ve compiled a short list of some of the more famous viral ads:

6. Real Beauty Sketches – Dove

This one has been out for awhile, but it continues to pop up on my Facebook feed. The ad plays into society’s obsession with appearance, especially for females. However the video is quick to assuage any fears by “proving” that how we see ourselves is not how others see us.

5. Almost Identical – Beldent (Trident’s European counterpart)

The “debunking” that went on in this ad is no more than a mere gimmick. According to Medical Daily, people probably responded more favorably to the twins chewing gum because their faces were more dynamic.

4. Like a Girl – Always

I don’t know about you, but this ad feels forced. Something tells me that these people were coached to some degree.

3. Not Sorry – Pantene

There’s a trend these days among the advertisers of women’s products to combat misogyny and/or “feminine traits.” As a female, I appreciate them raising the discourse, but I have to remember that, at the end of the day, it’s all for the holy dollar.

2. RE2PECT – Nike

Ah, yes, the ad that shows New Yorkers as one. This is a theme advertisers love: insinuating that their products bring everyone together. Look at all of these different people: black, white, brown, athletes, celebrities, women, children and even the NYPD coming together for what? Their love of baseball? No, silly, Nike Jordans!

1. Security Cameras – Coca Cola

This is a classic, but a goody. Look at all of the wonderful people in the world! You know, the people they filmed on their hidden security cameras.

Coca Cola loves to create sentimental ads. In this ad they “unite” India and Pakistan. “We set out to show that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.” Of course, your unhealthy Cola is the glue in our society.


Did I miss one that you find particularly revolting? Let me know in the comments.

1 Comment on "Six Ads That Went Viral Because They Preyed on our Emotions"

  1. BuzzCoastin | Sep 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm |

    media ecology 101
    the effects of media content are not as great
    as the effects of the delivery medium
    (the media is the massage)
    the medium itself prepared receptivity to the content
    butt the best defense against commercial manipulation
    is to avoid excessive exposure to mass mediums

    you don’t need to expose yourself to Ebola
    just to be sure it lives up to its reputation

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