Emotional Marketing: Did They Really Just Call It 'Sadvertising'?
Over my career, I have seen countless examples where nonprofits appear to be leading in particular strategies or techniques over commercial brands. And, of course, there are a lot of examples where nonprofits are lagging behind our commercial partners.
But based on the article I just read in Fast Company, "The Rise of Sadvertising: Why Brands Are Determined to Make You Cry," you would think emotional advertising is something new. I'm not making fun of the article — I actually found it very interesting — but I did find it humorous that this seems like something new when fundraisers have known this for a very long time.
Here's a quote from the article:
If you look at the current state of media, there's more value placed on 'meaningful' content — inspirational stories that you just have to see, or will change your world, and don't even ask what happens next because it will simply blow your mind or break your heart or take your breath away. The trend is most associated with Upworthy, the link-curation site that's mastered the art of sniffing out and disseminating the most profound, real, life-changing, and ultimately share-worthy content online.
The Upworthy effect can be added to another, larger cultural trend: the trend toward reality. The thirst for real stories has remade TV and now informs sharable online content. People like, and will share en masse, stories of real people doing really meaningful things that bring them to tears.
As someone who has been in the nonprofit marketing and fundraising arena for quite some time, this article was both funny to me and a bit concerning (once I stopped giggling). First, let's deal with what made this funny to me.
Funny: This is not new to us
Successful fundraising and nonprofit marketing have always been connected to the ability of a nonprofit to tie a mission, a request, a progress statement and other communication into an emotional, real-life story. This knowledge has been around so long I couldn't even find any recent test results in whitepapers or online — it's just been proved so many times already.
Vice President, Strategy & Development
Eleventy Marketing Group
Angie is ridiculously passionate about EVERYTHING she’s involved in — including the future and success of our nonprofit industry.
Angie is a senior exec with 25 years of experience in direct and relationship marketing. She is a C-suite consultant with experience over the years at both nonprofits and agencies. She currently leads strategy and development for marketing intelligence agency Eleventy Marketing Group. Previously she has worked at the innovative startup DonorVoice and as general manager of Merkle’s Nonprofit Group, as well as serving as that firm’s CRM officer charged with driving change within the industry. She also spent more 14 years leading the marketing, fundraising and CRM areas for two nationwide charities, The Arthritis Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Angie is a thought leader in the industry and is frequent speaker at events, and author of articles and whitepapers on the nonprofit industry. She also has received recognition for innovation and influence over the years.