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Made to Stick Part 2: Emotion

According to Made to Stick, ideas are “stickier” when they evoke an emotion. When a strong emotion is attached to an ad, individuals are likely to spend more time thinking about it. The goal of an ad focused on emotion is not only to make viewers care, but to encourage them to further share the ad with others.

Chipotle’s animated ad “The Scarecrow” takes this approach. The ad uses a central character, the scarecrow, to explore food production practices.

Throughout the ad, the scarecrow is exposed to cruel factory farming practices such as chickens being injected with growth hormones and cows being confined to small boxes. The emotional appeal is the result of the obvious sadness such circumstances generate in both the on-screen character and the viewer.

The turning point in this piece, however, is also strongly emotional. It occurs when the scarecrow arrives at an idealized farm where he discovers the signature Chipotle red pepper and other healthy food alternatives to those previously presented.

This ad generated significant discussion about the use of emotional appeals and was both well received and criticized for its approach. While the emotional element of this ad does make it sticky, it is important to recognize the importance of creating a valuable connection between the emotion and a brand, as well as the ethical implications related to advertising in this way.

Recommended Reading: “What Does ‘The Scarecrow’ Tell Us About Chipotle” for more in-depth discussion of this topic. 

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