Emotional Marketing: Boost Your Brand by Scaring Your Audience!

Some brands don’t hesitate to arouse fear in their consumers’ minds through marketing. They have understood the importance of emotional marketing to engage their audience but they use it in a very special way, opting for a negative emotion. Why implement such kind of campaign, which is not adapted to all audiences and which can sometimes shock? Web Marketing & Com, in its article about emotional marketing of fear, suggests 4 hypotheses explaining the benefits for a business to scare its consumers.

To create an emotional connection with its audience

At first glance, fear is not a pleasant emotion to feel, it is often seen as a negative emotion. Yet, many people love to go to the cinema with their friends to see a terrifying horror movie. Fear can therefore also be sought by the consumer.

This can be explained by the fact that, in case of fear, our body releases adrenaline, a hormone that gives the feeling of being incredibly alive because it significantly boosts our body. Many people quickly become addicted to this feeling and spend their time looking for thrill.

Many brands are trying to exploit this phenomenon to their advantage. By creating fear among their consumers, they surprise them in their daily lives: fear becomes an emotion more pleasant than repulsive. In addition, when a brand adds some humor to fear it’s even better: the brand creates an emotional connection with consumers by increasing the pleasure they feel.

To develop notoriety

Everyday, many ‘positive’ emotional marketing campaigns are released, extolling some values like love, sharing, friendship… But this kind of campaigns are abundant (so they quickly tend to look alike) and they lack personality, making it more difficult to memorize.

On the contrary, it’s hard to forget a campaign that particularly frightened us! This is why some brands decide to make us fear instead of touching us. For these companies, this strategy is a way to stand out from the competition and to develop their notoriety.

To boost sales

Another advantage of the emotional marketing of fear: it increases sales! There are two cases that fall within this framework:

  • Campaigns to be taken figuratively. They create a special affinity between the customer and the brand, prompting consumers to buy this particular brand.
  • Campaigns that really want to scare consumers. They focus on a disturbing reality and offer their products as a magic remedy. Again, they encourage consumers to buy the product recommended to allay their fears. This is the case for companies looking to sell their protection (life insurance, antivirus, pharmaceutical laboratory…). In the case of such firms, the more their targets are concerned, the more they will buy the product / service offered!

To raise awareness

Finally, fear can be used to educate consumers on a given issue. Fear is expressed indirectly through traumatic images or movies. Their purpose is to cause shock among consumers.

These campaigns often intervene as a last resort, when a message is struggling to move from a target or because it’s urgent to act. They are found in two contexts:

  • to denounce a danger too ignored (tobacco, alcohol …), by insisting on extreme and agonizing situations to encourage consumers to change their behaviour ;
  • to appeal for donations by putting consumers face to harsh reality that he fears to live one day (illness, death, homeless …).


In conclusion, emotional marketing of fear can help you to achieve very different goals, so it is an option to consider as part of your marketing campaigns. But be careful! This must stick to your brand and your audience. In any case, don’t hesitate and throw yourself in the emotional marketing: emotions are numerous and you are bound to find one that matches with your brand and your audience.

To read this article from Web Marketing & Com in more details and/or to discover many examples of scary ads, click here !


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