Emotionally-led advertising campaigns skyrocket in Asia, says Warc

Heart-wrenching advertising is on the rise in Asia with 72 per cent of this year’s entries to Warc’s Prize for Asian Strategy taking an emotionally-charged approach.

According to Warc’s Asian Strategy Report, the proportion of tearjerking campaigns shortlisted rose by 40 per cent since last year, eclipsing information-led campaigns and user-generated content, which took the top spots in 2016.

Following behind emotional tactics, creative approaches driven by storytelling and purpose took second and third place respectively.

Warc’s Grand Prix-winning campaign was ‘Marriage Marketplace’ by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors for SK-II, which encouraged women in China to pursue their own careers and happiness without the shame attached to being a ‘sheng nu’ or ‘leftover woman’.

Explaining the creative approach in Warc’s report, the agency’s planner My Troedsson and senior client director Susanna Fagring said: “We strongly believed people would make the connection between an emotional message and the product by themselves – if SK-II just made the effort to connect emotionally with them first.

“It’s a bold step to move away from product benefits to emotional content based on shared values. But if a brand dares to reach out and truly connect with people, making them feel closer to the brand, that can make a real difference.”

Other brands taking a deep emotional dive in their advertising this year include the Singaporean insurance brands Income and Singapore Life, with the latter allegedly becoming the first local campaign to feature live births.

From elsewhere in Asia, a Vietnam internet browser – with Isobar – renamed its incognito mode as ‘The Forgetting Tab’ in an Alzheimer’s campaign. The mode presented users with an emotional video depicting the effects of Alzheimers on both the patient and their carers.

Meanwhile in the Philippines,  BBDO Guerrero harnessed the power of cute animals with a campaign encouraging children with reading difficulties to read to those who won’t judge or criticise their mistakes – dogs.

Warc’s report also showed that influencers are the most popular target for brands, with the number of shortlisted entries accounting for nearly 40 per cent of campaigns and 30 per cent of the total.

Millennials and young people followed in close second with 29 per cent, while campaigns directed at women accounted for 25 per cent.


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