Love and desire in the digital world

Nick North
GfK Media


Advertisers want to make people love their products. People, on the other hand, love television programmes, magazines, websites - media content. This paper explores how and why love of content, be it the written word or moving pictures, can drive desire for products, how advertisers can exploit this bond, and can encourage media and consumer brand loyalty. As a precursor to this, the paper describes the current debate on engagement, and asserts that the understanding of emotional engagement delivers greater actionable insight than the behaviourist observation of advertising exposure and sales effect alone.

To add substance to this claim, the paper describes what we mean by love, the impact of being in love, how it makes us feel, and a brief description of the science behind love, including some research on the mental states caused by higher levels of dopamine, which are relevant to the argument. The paper presents some evidence from the field, from appreciation and engagement research by GfK and by others, to show a halo effect and transference from loved programme to brand, the importance of emotional engagement in the delivery and execution of advertising, and to look at the opportunities for brands through this lens.