Emotional Selling Proposition: Examples From Popular Brands

Hadi Yousufi
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Leveraging the power of an emotional selling proposition (ESP) will help your content produce results. What type of results am I referring to? How does getting tons of shares on social media sound? Or ranking a top position on Google, and bringing in leads?

I'm going to explain what an emotional selling proposition is, and provide five concrete examples from famous brands. So let’s dive right in.

First, it's important to understand that emotions play a large role in our decisions. In fact, emotions are such powerful forces, that we’d be unable to make decisions without them. According to a study done by professor Antonio Damasio, emotions are necessary for all decision making and influence what we buy.

You might have thought that instead, it’s logic. After all, don’t we analyze the features and benefits of a product before we buy it? Yes, that’s true, but there’s more to the story. According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. And guess what? The key to the subconscious mind is emotion.

When marketing products to your audience, it’s most effective to target the subconscious mind through emotions. Zig Ziglar famously said,

People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.

What Exactly is an Emotional Selling Proposition?

An emotional selling proposition (ESP) defines all the emotional triggers that prompt a person to buy. It’s quite different from a unique selling proposition (USP). A USP instead defines all the logical reasons to buy.

Emotion is the one thing that influences consumer behavior the most. So to be successful in your marketing efforts, sell the feelings your product provides, rather than selling the product explicitly.

Below are 5 examples of how some well-known brands nailed the emotional selling proposition in their ads.

  1. Coca-Cola: Open Happiness

“Open Happiness” is one of Coca-Cola’s most iconic and successful global ad campaigns.

Notice how in this tagline or “hook”, there is no mention of the taste, quality, or ingredients in Coca-Cola. Instead, the fizzy drink brand focused on good feelings like happiness and fun, rather than on the soda itself.

Coca-Cola appealed to one of the most powerful emotions that we all desire, happiness. In fact, a study of the most emailed New York Times articles found that emails that were the most shared and engaged with were both emotional and positive. That’s no surprise because we all seek to get as much joy and happiness we can out of life. As a result, we have a natural affinity to ads and content that speak to those core feelings.

The Coca-Cola Company is one of the most recognized companies in the world. And by aligning their ad strategy with the emotion of happiness, it’s easy to see why.

  1. WWF: Stop Climate Change Before It Changes You

You might think that using an emotion such as fear is a bad idea for marketing. But, if it’s used in the right way, fear can be a powerful emotion that drives people to take action.

In this ad, pay attention to how the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) uses the emotion of fear. In this slogan, the WWF uses fear to evoke a sense of worry and concern about climate change. The ad suggests that if we don’t do something positive about remediating it, we ourselves and our descendants may experience unwelcomed changes.

Fear is a natural instinct we all have that often helps us in avoiding dangers. And in this example, the WWF used it as a compelling emotional anchor in prompting viewers to take action.

Using a powerful emotion like fear isn’t as common as other emotions and can even sometimes be risky. However, when it’s used in a creative and compelling way, it can provide a very strong emotional selling proposition.

  1. L’Oréal: Because You’re Worth It

Take a look at this ad slogan: “Because You’re Worth It.” Can you guess which emotions L’Oréal is targeting? If you said feelings of self-worth, confidence, and self-respect, then you’re correct. L’Oréal keenly understood they’re target audience: women.

They realized that women wear make up for a variety of reasons. They want to look beautiful, feel self-confident and know they’re worthy of all the good things life has to offer.

As such, this legendary phrase coined by L’Oréal struck a chord with women all around the world. In an article by Hollywood Reporter, Jane Fonda said, “The famous L’Oréal tagline originated in 1971 when women weren’t used to feeling like they were worth it.

The emotive strength of this powerful slogan revolutionized female empowerment. As a result, L’Oréal was able to establish brand loyalty and a deep connection with their customers.

  1. Gillette: The Best a Man Can Get

For over 30 years, Gillette has stood as a brand that encourages men to be their best. With the goal of bonding masculinity to high-quality products, this iconic slogan has stood the test of time. It’s been translated into 14 languages and still remains the core message of the Gillette brand today.

The famous ad campaign made men see shaving as a rite of passage. It evoked emotions of masculinity, success, and leadership. The tagline and its message was truly inspirational and garnered huge support from men all around the world.

For men, the slogan “The Best a Man Can Get” meant pushing their bodies, succeeding in life, loving their fathers and sons, and the women in their lives. It was the ultimate sophistication of what makes a man a man. As a result, it made many men want to buy Gillette’s razors on the basis of these ideals.

Gillette didn’t sell the razor, they sold the idea of what a successful man can and should be.

  1. Procter & Gamble (P&G): Thank You, Mom

Sad-vertising is powerful. In 2010, “Thank you Mom”, was the biggest and most successful ad campaign in the company’s 175-year history. It generated $500 million in global sales and 76 billion global media impressions. Staggering statistics like this make you wonder what they did right.

P&G launched the campaign during the Olympics in an effort to create an emotional connection between the global company, it’s brands and people.

But how were they able to achieve such massive success you ask? P&G pulled this feat off by tugging at our heartstrings with heartwarming ads about maternal love. The ads put the unsung heroes of the world, moms, front and center by showing all that they do for the athletes. The hook, “Thank you Mom”, pays homage to all the sweet and loving moms of the world who work tirelessly to make our lives better.

The campaign didn’t just focus on positive moments. Instead, it showed how moms helped their children overcome tremendous adversity. Things like bullying, surviving natural disasters and being the underdog were just a few of the hardships the athletes faced.

Feelings of love, tenderness, and affection stirred our hearts and made us blubbering messes as we remembered our own moms watching the ads. Here we see the incredible power of an emotional selling proposition at work.


To maximize your content marketing results, you must leverage the power of emotions. Human beings are driven by feelings. So if you want your prospects to remember your brand, they must feel connected to it. That’s where your emotional selling proposition comes in.

To leverage the power of ESPs in your business, it’s important to consult or hire marketing professionals like copywriters. They can help you find your brand’s voice and write ROI-focused copy.

Now if you’re interested in writing content that converts through an emotional selling proposition, consider hiring one of our expert copywriters who can get you results. Our copywriters can write copy that triggers an emotional response. Just remember, effective marketing is emotional marketing.

Hadi Yousufi

Hadi Yousufi is a certified copywriter, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur. His copy expertise focuses on maximum conversion while being compliant and scalable. He's lead a startup from the ground up, provides marketing strategy to private clients, and brings a wealth of revenue-generating knowledge with him. He loves cultivating fresh, new experiences & traveling the world with his wife and son.

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