E*Trade, E Stands for Emotion

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(Link to Video Below)
Advertisements are the quintessential form of manipulation. More specifically they are very skilled at manipulating our emotions. Everywhere we look from a billboard to Television there are messages being thrown at us to take action; be it political commercials or automobile commercials there is a constant flow of information about things we need to do or buy. All of these use elements that grab our emotions.
One of the best examples of emotional stimuli that advertisers use is in recent E*Trade ads. As shown in the video there are a number of different elements that tap into emotions. The first and most prominent is reveled right at the start of the commercial with main character being a baby. Immediately there is a sense of innocence and trustworthiness with the ad. What kind of company would ever jip you that has a baby as their mascot? The second element is the emotion of reacting to humor when suddenly the baby begins to talk. This not only brings about a positive feeling for the add, but it ingrains it in our memories. For people that watch television, I know very few that wouldn't remember the E*Trade commercials. There are also other more subtle emotions addressed in this specific video such as depression that might come from not having a retirement plan.
"Ultimately, the effectiveness of advertising must be thought of in terms of the experience it creates for the viewer, and emotion has an inescapable role to play in that experience."1


1. Young C., Capturing the Flow of Emotion in Television Commercials: A New Approach, Journal of Advertising Research, (2004), 44 : pp 202-209

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I loved how in depth you went into analyzing the E*trade commercials and the emotions they try to convey to their target consumers. I never really thought of their commercials as trying to manipulate emotions but the way you explained it made a lot of sense. The commercials are also hilarious so i enjoyed this post alot.

I've got to agree that these are some of the best commercials, for all of the reasons you described. For wealth management companies like Etrade trust is a very important emotion and just like you said who wouldn't trust a company with a baby, it portrays innocence. The innocence also helps with the commercials humor too because everything becomes a little more funny with a baby involved. And we seem to remember things that are funny more than things that are straightforward and uninteresting.

I think that a lot of people respond strongly to emotion when it comes to money, because there is nothing that makes as sadder than losing money. Think of how sad people were during the Great Depression, and even 2008-2009? One would think that having strong family and friends to support them would make financial difficulties less depressing, but ultimately happiness for Americans is all about money. If ETrade can make us feel happy about their financial services, then we will feel good when it comes to investing our money with them.

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This page contains a single entry by chri2983 published on February 21, 2012 5:44 PM.

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