Primary Research: Adverts that make you cry.

Even though I have done research into many advertisements, I feel as if the more research I do the better understanding I will have when it comes to creating my own advertisements/video footage and the more successful I will become in creating emotional scenarios.

In this post I will focus on how advertisements/ film scenes/ video footage can create that much emotion within an audience that they can sometimes be reduced to tears.

To get a better understanding of how video footage can create different emotions within different audiences, I have used five diverse audience members who I asked to write down what they are feeling as they watch the pieces of video and what it was exactly that caused them to feel this emotion.

The five participants are:

  • Emily Gardner, third year PR and Journalism student.
  • Victoria Gornicki, third year Physchology student.
  • Lianne Edward, third year Geography student.
  • Abi Smith, third year Politics student.
  • James Connolly, junior designer.


This advert is a German Christmas Advert for the largest supermarket corporation within Germany, Edeka.

Emily: I am crying! That’s so sad but so happy at the same time. The most emotional part for me was the background music, without the music I feel as if it would be sad but not give as big an impact on me, I don’t think I would end up crying if the music wasn’t there. It was a beautiful song.

Lianne: The actual video images were what created the most emotion within me, especially the images of the man sitting on his own eating Christmas dinner. I felt as if they could be still images for Age UK or something as they were that effective on me and very well lit.

“How Easy It Is Too Forget”

This is a commercial for the Chinese rice industry, Bernas.

James: I don’t understand why a rice company would have such an emotional advertisement? It is obviously to get the attention of the audience which it definitely did with me. The scene which affected me the most was when there was no sound and we just saw the image of a swing swinging, it made me feel anxious.

Abi: Yeah I agree. It made me hold my breath and I definitely thought I was going to cry. The video shots in this one are more effective than the previous advertisement as there are many more close shots of the actors which shows their emotions better.

Lianne: The voiceover made me really sit and listen and focus on what was happening. The words used are what made me emotional as I felt as if I could really connect with what was being said.

Slow Down

This is an advertisement from the New Zealand Police about tackling the problem of speeding.

Emily: This was a completely different kind of advert compared to the other two however it still made me really emotional. There was no music, no dramatic lighting or anything ‘film like’ about it but it effected me the most. I think it is because there was no music which meant I was really pulled into the video, it was making me feel very anxious as I anticipated what was going to happen.

Victoria: There were two points in the advert when I actually gasped with emotion, one when the little boy was shown and the second was when the cars collided. The sound of the glass breaking made me jump and made me quite tearful, not due to sadness but due to anxiousness.

From this primary research several things have become clear:

  • Lack of sound can have just as big an impact as the use of music or sound. It can create anxiety and panic as it distorts the viewing experience.
  • Close up shots are the most influential however imagery needs to be clear and crisp, as if it could be a still for a poster.
  • What people say is just as important as the music. The words used can effect someone more than the imagery can. 

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