Emotional Radio Advertising – The 4 Emotions That Get People Buying

Emotional radio advertising

Emotional radio advertising strategically influences the audience’s feelings to influence their decision making. According to Psychology Today, people rely on emotions over information when making brand decisions.

A lot of emotional ads reach a resolution or a Call-To-Action to get the listener to help fix the problem.

The most effective radio ads typically evokes emotion. If you can make your listener happy, sad, angry or afraid, then you are doing something right.



Evoking anger in listeners is a way to wake people up and encourage them to take action. Hearing another person getting treated unjustly sparks anger in most of us. This anger can cause us, as listeners, to reconsider our perspective and try to do something to solve this injustice, or at least help solve it.

Four years ago, ISPCC, the Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children launched the ‘Children believe what they are told campaign’ to raise awareness of the damaging effects of emotional abuse.

This campaign speaks from the perspective of a young girl who encompasses what many children go through. The words spoken reflect the words that are used towards them and instantly angers the audience; who hate whoever is abusing this little girl.

The advert starts in a very unexpected way to grab the listener’s attention. Children are portrayed as very innocent and the words “I’m a stupid little bitch” coming out from a child instantly shocks the audience.




Brands that want to be associated with happy customers usually take the positivity approach in advertising. A study found that people shares positive posts more than negative ones. Brands might use upbeat music, comedy or stories of people connecting to portray this feeling.

The Hiscox ‘Perseverance’ ad, which won September 2015’s Aerial Award, parodies Major-General’s Song. The lyrics are about the value of not giving up when owning your own business and are accompanied by the piano playing the tune of the Major-General’s Song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates Of Penzance.

The humourous, upbeat song instantly evokes happiness and makes the listener relate the Hiscox brand to happy, smiling customers.



Fear is a natural instinct which helps us to react appropriately to threats; increasing our chance of survival. It creates urgency and prompts us to take action.

A lot of radio ads that aim to prevent things like drunk driving, global warming and smoking aim to evoke fear.

This approach can be risky as people can find ads like these disturbing and depressing.

A perfect example of a scare-vertisement Fire Kills’ campaign “When you change your clock, test your smoke alarm”. The advert aims to prevent accidental fires in the home.

The shocking element in this ad is the change of direction that the message goes in. When I first heard this ad, I assumed it was a reminder to change my clocks until the voice-over says “All except for 246 people, they won’t be doing it this year because time has stopped for them.”

The advert aims to make the listener think that they could be a part of next year’s 246 people who die in a house fire, prompting them to take action.


Lately, more and more brands are recognising the effectiveness and popularity of moving ads.

DriveSafe’s December 2016 radio advert shows the potential consequences of drink driving. Mother Elaine Gordon, whose son died in a car crash after accepting a lift from a drunk driver, described the events surrounding James’ death.

To hear a mother talking about a personal experience in losing a child makes it very real. The sadness makes the advert all that memorable so that listeners will remember this message when they consider going behind the wheel when they are over the drink drive limit.