Best Emotional Branding: Negative Advertising and the Power of Contempt

Advertising can be a lot like high school.  The cool kids make fun of the nerds, just to make themselves feel superior.

In this three-minute emotional marketing lesson video, emotional marketing expert Graeme Newell shows how Madison Avenue skillfully weaves in just a hint of contempt to bolster our egos.  See how marketers make one of the meanest emotions seem unthreatening and downright endearing.

When it comes to emotional branding and emotional marketing, some of the best promo videos are done using negative marketing, negative advertising, and negative branding. Today, I’m going to talk about how the best promo videos use emotional branding and emotional marketing to build great negative branding, negative advertising, and negative marketing

Emotional Branding in a Nutshell

Emotional branding is a technique that the top TV promos and promo videos use to connect with their audience on a deep, emotional level, thus the name emotional branding. Emotional branding is a type of emotional marketing, both of which talk about how to write ad copy that connects with the audience deeply. A good marketing copywriter uses these TV promo writing concepts found in emotional branding and emotional marketing and uses them to create fantastic TV promotion that focuses on the customer, not the product.

Emotional Marketing Explained

Emotional marketing, like emotional branding, is a way that the best promo videos are able to speak on a deep emotional level with their customers. By finding out what the customer wants to feel about herself, copy writers can make powerful sales copy writing using emotional marketing and emotional branding because it hones in on what defines the customer. This is then used to find out how your product fits into the self-image you customer already has about herself, and promo video is made accordingly.

Negative Marketing as Emotional Marketing

There are all types of emotional marketing and emotional branding, but the strongest ones tend to be ones that revolve around negative marketing, negative advertising, and negative branding. Negative marketing is identifying something in a customer, and shedding a negative light on it. This may be identifying something the customer hates, and letting them know that you hate it to, thus using negative marketing to establish a connection. It can also be mocking others, or even the customer himself! Negative marketing is deeply seated in the psyche of the customer, so you have to really know what it is that makes them tick.

Negative Advertising and Contempt

Some of the best negative advertising, negative marketing, and negative branding use the concept of contempt to ally with customers and make them feel more at home with the brand. Negative advertising with contempt is accomplished by finding out what the customer knows a lot about, and then mocking the amateurs that plague that field. There’s a nasty side to all of us that react well to this type of negative advertising with contempt – we all like to look down on those less talented or knowledgeable than ourselves every now and then – and negative advertising of this type gives it to the customer.


Negative Branding

Negative branding, like negative marketing and negative advertising, is a technique that we are using with contempt today. Negative branding with contempt not only allows you to appeal to the customer by appealing to their dark side, it also uses emotional marketing and emotional branding concepts to appeal to their positive side too. In ads using the emotional marketing technique of negative branding, negative advertising, or negative marketing, you will see the focus of the commercial giving a certain character what he has coming to him. In so doing, emotional branding helps by making the customer feel good about himself in seeing the others get their comeuppance, but the negative branding appeal is the delight gotten from seeing others fail. Not only do you get the negativity, you also uplift the customer.


So to recap:

  • Emotional branding is useful for building a rapport with the customer
  • Emotional marketing is best used after you have done extensive research into what makes your customers tick. Find that out, and then devise the best way to appeal to them.
  • Negative marketing, negative advertising, and negative branding can be well accomplished by using contempt to simultaneously uplift the viewer and put down those he feels are overdue for a good smack-down


Transcription text of the 3-Minute Emotional Marketing Lesson Video “Best Emotional Branding: Negative Advertising and the Power of Contempt” by Graeme Newell, emotional marketing researcher, customer loyalty researcher, and consultant at 602 Communications.

Hi I’m Graeme Newell and today I’m showing how big brands pump up customer egos with the negative emotion of contempt.

“I’m an American soldier”

Now most brands take the positive approach, showing customers they’re part of an exclusive club.

“A few years ago I decided to push myself further. College, graduate school, degrees in aeronautics engineering.”

Wow, and the brand message is that if you join the army, you can be part of the super-achiever club too! This is striving marketing. But on the opposite side of the brand divide is demeaning marketing.

“There is nothing like the sweet deal on a brand-new snowboard. All shiny and slick with these, awesome, boot, holder, things. Who am I kidding I don’t even like going outside.”

And if you’re someone who actually knows how to snowboard or does any sports, you were just delivered a wonderfully satisfying hit of superiority. Demeaning marketing delivers a double hit.  First off, it’s just really entertaining to watch people make fools of themselves. Secondly, the customers gets the guilty pleasure of seeing themselves as superior.  At least I’m not as bad as this guy.

“So how’s my day look. Well 930 to one you send funny pics to your wife from 1 to 115 texting your son throughout recess. 115 to 3 exchange flicks with your daughter 3 to 4 texting aimlessly to everyone and at four a budget meeting. I can push the meeting to another day let’s go that okay. Verizon wireless lets you share more with your family.”

The customer gets a nice chuckle, but the ad also delivers a delightful dose of contempt for that lazy boss back at their office who’s always telling them what to do.  A lot of these ads will have at it on the people and situations the customer hates the most.  This next ad takes a shot at the whiners all of us endure in our lives.

“Can switching to Geico really save you 15% or more on car insurance? Does a former drill seargant make a terrible therapist? And that’s why yellow makes me sad I think. That’s interesting. You know what makes me sad? YOU DO. Maybe we should chug on over to mamby pamby land where maybe we can find some self-confidence for you you jackwagon. Tissue? Crybaby. Geico, 15 minutes could save you 15% or more.”

This next ad for TNT sports doubles up, combining both striving marketing and demeaning marketing.

“Now Mr. Barkley you are here for possible violations as an analyst for the NBA on TNT. Do you have anything to say for yourself? Yes, I’m 1000% innocent. Is that so? Upon being asked about the team defense of my beloved Dallas mavericks, did you not say, and I quote, my mother could score 30 points on those guys. No, I said my grandmother could score 30. My mother would drop 45 on them.”

We want to be bold and courageous like Charles Barkley, and we get to glower at those stuffy bureaucrats, like in our own lives. So remember, positive customer emotions are what most brands seek, but sometimes the best way to unlock the fire of those emotional drivers is to yank your customer’s chain with negative situations.  I’m Graeme Newell and that’s emotional marketing.

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