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The Marriage Between Emotional Marketing and Stock Photos

How do businesses stand out on social media? One way would be to partner with a mega brand and jump on trends. At least that’s how Bud Light and Game of Thrones did it, with their brilliant Joust ad that debuted during Super Bowl LIII. However, the success of this ad wasn’t just limited to the overall fan base of these two brands. Instead, they tapped into something far more valuable, our emotions.

What is emotional marketing?

This photo oozes with good vibes.

Emotional marketing exploits the main aspect that humanizes us, our feelings. This marketing strategy aims to provoke a feeling within a set of audience. And this sense of emotion is exactly how a brand stays ahead of their competitors.

Because in years to come, which would you remember, Nike using Tiger Woods’ remarkable Masters victory to promote their golf footwear, or simply putting up a poster of their new set of golf apparel and throwing a 50% discount with it? It’s a no-brainer.   

A powerful image like this is how you capture your audience’s attention.

Woods’ inspiring victory will go down as one of the greatest sporting achievements of our time. After all, Wood’s has proved, he’s done…it again, ladies and gentlemen. While emotional marketing taps into our concoction of feelings, it can be narrowed down to four main categories; happiness, sadness, fear / surprise and anger.  

Additionally, with stock photo’s return to authenticity, thanks to a series of image collections dealing with real-world issues such as redefining masculinity and negative social stereotypes, this content resource is a great way to help marketers produce powerful ads for social media.


This image has happy vibes and more importantly, it feels real.

This is the most productive type of emotional marketing to use. Us humans are always looking to share our joy. We upload pictures of our travels on Instagram, share new job updates on LinkedIn, tweet about being among the first ones to watch Avengers: Endgame and use Facebook to share updates when our favorite political party wins the election.

More importantly, when others are happy, so are we, well at least most of us are. And stock photos play a massive part in helping marketers to jump on this bandwagon. The right image has massive potential to go viral, as it puts a smile on our faces. Doubt this hype? Look at the amount of social interaction a picture of your cute dog gets.


Believe it or not, a sad advert is a great way to drive engagement.

Similar to happiness, sadness also leads to social interaction, but for different reasons. While joy is meant to be shared, disappointments are a great tool to drive a movement, or to inspire a community. Additionally, the feeling of being let down is what inspires an action.

Images of plastic straws piercing through a sea turtle’s nose, or seeing a whale dying due to plastic consumption are examples of visuals tapping into our empathy. Often enough, this then prompts the audience to take action to solve this crisis. Usually, this comes in the form of an online petition to stop the wrong-doings that caused the problem. Therefore, resulting in better brand engagement on social media.

Fear / surprise

Imagine a world where fake news is the only reality.

We fear the unknown. Most of us love to plan ahead. We fret over the future, only to let the present slip away. And skilled marketers are aware on how to take advantage of this. By planting the seed of the unknown into our readers, we’re essentially opening them up to the worst case scenario.

Imagine what would it be like if you could no longer download images from google? There goes your top content resource and indirectly, leading users to leverage towards stock photos. Alternatively, what if we only had access to fake news, with the truth constantly escaping our eyes. Would you be open to the media dictating your life with fake news? Probably not. And that’s what makes New York Times’ The Truth Is campaign, incredibly powerful.


Anger is a great way to foster a community on social media.

Have you been bullied? Or more importantly, have you been a bully? Most of us would be able to relate to this, despite the options being on the opposite sides of the spectrum. And anger is one emotion that would resonate within you, regardless of the answer to the above question; the anger of not being able to defend yourself and the fury towards the old you for picking on others. Therefore, and an advert which allows the audience to channel this powerful emotion is bound to be a successful emotional marketing strategy.

A brilliant example of channeling anger is Nike’s admirable stance on Colin Kaepernick. The NFL star chose not to stand up for the US national anthem, as a protest to the country’s treatment towards racial minorities. Nike’s ballsy decision to stand by their athlete opened them up for immense backlash, especially considering its origins as an American brand. However, the brand won massive plaudits for its choice to tackle racism, a concept that fuels anger, especially from the victims.

It’s pretty clear that our feelings are a fantastic tool for marketers to tap into. Therefore, understanding the basis of emotional marketing and learning its advantage is an amazing tactic to stand out on social media Luckily, stock photos are here to help.


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