Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thoughts, Feeling and Action

Good advertising invites people to think. It is even better when the invitation to think evokes corresponding emotion.

From childhood onward, we learn to associate situations with specific physiological responses. These felt physiological responses are given labels. We call them emotions.

When we feel certain emotions, specific action tendencies may also arise. We may be attracted, or pushed away. That is the basis for employing the Cognitive Theory of Emotion in connection with persuasion.

This 1986 commercial is an effective demonstration of The Cognitive Theory of Emotion. We observe, we think, we feel, we are surprised, and we think again.

As a public service, this commercial places the brand, the Norwegian Red Cross, on the high plain of thought leadership when it comes to caring, altruistic behavior. It enhances its position as the kind of organization people want to support.

This commercial also reminds us of Edward Scripture's original condensation of the field of Psychology as "Thinking, Feeling, and Doing." Scripture's title for one of the original Psychology textbooks (1895) might serve as well for the field of Advertising. Better advertising should invite the audience to think and to feel.

This perspective is worth remembering as we move from the age of the "telephone" to a new frontier of communication capabilities.

Copyright © 2011 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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