Graeme Newell

What is Emotional Branding? Using the Power of Revenge Marketing

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_video link=”” size=”825″][vc_column_text]Sometimes the best way to bond with customers is to appeal to their dark side. In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how some of the world’s most successful brands build customer loyalty using negative marketing and the payback fantasy.

Emotional branding is used with positive emotions all the time. Marketing copywriters use emotional marketing to instill a warm, happy feeling in their viewers that endear their product to the customer all the time. But what of negative marketing, negative advertising, and negative branding? Emotional marketing is more than capable of getting nasty with some negative marketing – in fact, it thrives on it.

Emotional Branding and Negative Advertising

No matter who you are, no matter where you are from, everyone knows at least one person who thinks he or she is better than anyone else. These blustering fools are always up on their high horse, looking down on the rest of us, isn’t it time that someone knocked them down a few notches? The emotional marketing techniques for negative branding has just the recipe for this occasion – revenge. Using revenge in your negative emotional branding is the perfect way to endear your brand to customers for hating what they hate – that arrogant guy you hated back in High School.

Emotional Marketing and Negative Branding

The formula for this emotional branding is simple. First, the villains are introduced. Then, the Average-Joe hero is introduced. The hero then proceeds to not only dispatch of the villain, but does so in a humiliating fashion. It’s not sufficient that the snobs be knocked off their high horses, they must also land in the mud. In this type of negative marketing, our hero is calm and in command, a master of his surroundings and those around him.

Emotional Branding and Negative Marketing

Normally the negative advertising technique delivered by revenge is done with a cliffhanger. The way the emotional marketing works is that the revenge spot sets up the expectation for the revenge. You know that it’s coming, so you have to direct your full attention to the spot until it gives you the payoff. This way the audience will have to listen to the entire product pitch, or whatever the advertiser puts in, in order to get the payoff of sweet vengeance.

The vengeance technique works particularly well for blue-collar customer bases. While some brands go out of their way to attract the most well-heeled customers, those that go for the masses stand to benefit greatly by resorting to this emotional marketing technique. The best thing about appealing to the “everyman” is that, well, every man and woman thinks he or she is an “everyman.” So instead of going the positive rout with emotional branding, it sometimes pays off to just commiserate with your customers with some negative advertising. Instead of lifting them up, let them play the martyr for a bit, they’ll love you for it.

So to recap:

  • When you are using emotional marketing to with a brand, it doesn’t always have to be positive. Instead, use some negative marketing to spice up your advertising
  • Everyone has someone they think needs to be taken down a few notches, so give it to them with negative branding
  • Introduce the villain, then the hero, establish the expectation, deliver your product pitch, and then let the hero handily dispatch of the villain, humiliating him in the process.


Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Customer Loyalty Research: What is Emotional Branding? Using the Power of Revenge Marketing” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing researcher, customer loyalty researcher, and consultant at 602 Communications.

Hi I’m Graeme Newell. Today, I’m going to show you new research on how the best marketers use the emotion of revenge.  We all know someone who thinks he’s just better than everyone else,
“You know what life is? Life is high school, with money”
and the ad world has create an entire category of commercials that feed our special hatred of snobs.
“Hey, nice bog. Yea this is Piper, a purebred border collie. Watch this, Piper, fetch. Good boy Piper you’re such a good boy. So, uh, what can your dog do? Fergus? Bud Light. Bad Dog. Fresh, smooth, real, bud light.”
Feel that delightful warm glow of payback?  That’s the little tingle of revenge marketing and the formula goes like this. These ads start by introducing the villains, and here’s our everyday hero.
“So what’s that red thing outside huh? It’s the new polo. Polo? It’s cool isn’t it? Cool? We’ll just have to see about that.”
And the race is on, but it’s not enough that our hero merely beat the villain, the hero wins because he outsmarts the villain, and humiliates him.  Our hero calmly assumes command.
Here’s a popcorn ad that uses revenge marketing. The other kid’s taunting makes our hero’s actions justified.
“Loser hahaha”
Revenge marketing typically sets up a cliffhanger.  You know retribution is coming, and the ad keeps your full attention while you wait for the payoff. Again, he outsmarts and humiliates his adversaries.
“Enjoying time with friends. That’s the power of Orville Redenbacher’s”
But the biggest revenge brand of the past few years has been Miller beer’s blue collar spectacular. Beers like Beck’s position themselves as the beer for the beautiful people.
“The High Life is tired of a bunch of super-fly, overpaid athletes getting all the sponsorships.
Miller took a whack at the blue bloods and positioned itself as the champion of the spurned common man. They lashed out at the privileged class by literally repossessing their beer.
“You see the high life as about celebrating not separating. We’re comin for your VIP’s and we ain’t the paparazzi. We’re lookin for the little fuzzy rope. Uh-huh, how ya doin. Yea we’re not on that I can guarantee that. Excuse us, thank you so much. Payin extra money so other people can’t sit next to you. You know where I come from we party together. With a good, honest beer with a tasty price. Fuzzy rope that make you all feel more important, nuh-uh. Common sense ain’t on the guest list. Now these people know how to do it.”
So remember sometimes the best way to win your customer’s heart is not to try to win their admiration, but to let them have a good go at playing the martyr.  I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.[/vc_column_text][stm_post_comments][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][stm_sidebar sidebar=”1162″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Leave a Comment