The exponential rise of the internet is posing a new set of challenges for today’s marketeers. For starters, present-day consumers are more well-informed than ever before. The vast amount of online resources have granted them access to all the ins and outs of a business; a business’ ethics, processes, and revenues, are now only a couple of keyboard taps away. As such, consumers are quick to point out inconsistencies between brands and their inaccurate or surface-level marketing ploys. 

Additionally, consumers are reported to have a diminished attention span – both in the individual and collective sense – compared to previous years.  This is the result of the rise of social media and short form content, which have also made consumers increasingly selective on what they place their focus on. So how do marketers go about these obstacles? What is the key to engagement?


Targeting consumers’ emotions. 

Marketeers are acutely aware of the power of emotions, and more importantly, their ability to bypass the conscious mind. While the definition of ‘emotion’ has still not been solidified, emotions are generally proposed to exist on a negative-to-positive spectrum encompassing six universal facets: happiness, anger, disgust, sadness, fear, and surprise. These emotions are theorised to have evolved due to their adaptive functions, which subsequently aid to our survival. For example, happiness is deemed beneficial as a reinforcing mechanism, and anger is a tool useful in improving an individual’s bargaining position. Emotions are thus key to driving behaviour and cueing action – and that is their inherent power.

It is indeed our emotions that guide most of our (ir)rational decisions. Scientific research has revealed that we feel before we think. This internal process applies to all situations; the purchasing one being no exception. As Mitchell Harper, the CEO and Founder of InsaneGrowth, claims: “People buy with emotion first and logic second.” There’s an abundance of proof evidentiating the importance of emotions and their ability to override logic in a marketing situation. Think of the yearly emotional journeyCoca-Cola takes its consumers through: from its running theme of festive happiness during the winter period, to the advertising of joy and fun throughout the summertime. Coca-Cola focuses on promoting its fizzy drink not for its taste, but rather for the shared feeling of belonging fostered amongst its consumers. These reoccurring associations define the brand, giving it the stature it upholds today.


Another brilliant example of emotional marketing done right is Always’ 2014 #LikeAGirl campaign, a campaign which earned the company multiple awards at Cannes and even an Emmy! The reason behind the campaign’s success was the brand’s ability to turn a phrase with negative connotations into one eliciting positive feelings. Again, as in the Coca Cola case, they weren’t advertising a product, but rather an idea – one encouraging social engagement and a sense of unity amongst women. In this case, an advertisement advocating for social issues panned out successfully.


However, not all companies who promoted a need for social change were successful. The power of emotional adverts is also made apparent through cases where ads evoked strong, negative emotional responses – resulting in irreversible backlash. This was the case with Gillette, whose 2019 advert on toxic masculinity sparked controversy. While some consumers praised the brand for raising awareness of social issues, others viewed the brand’s input to be insulting. In spite of some positive feedback, this campaign ultimately resulted in Gillette incurring a reported loss of $8 billion. It is thus of crucial important to consider emotions – and their resulting effects – in marketing campaigns.

Emotion-driven engagement isn’t limited to short-term marketing campaigns; it is just as  useful for maintaining long-term brand loyalty. A recent 2019 study by Deloitte revealed that consumers’ rational considerations with regards to a brand can either make or break the bond with that brand. These consumer considerations, which include aspects such as pricing and quality, are only put forefront in the beginning and ending stages of the brand relationship. If these aspects remain consistent, the ingredients to an ongoing relationship with consumers are based on emotions, trust, and shared values. As such, although a relationship may begin due to rational considerations, emotions are the engine driving everything in between.

To conclude, emotions are an important consideration for marketeers strategising for both short- and long-term endeavours. If done effectively, and with the right target audience in mind, such methods can snowball social engagement and enrich the relationship between a brand and consumer. Yet, as in any relationship between two people, it is important to consider the subject matters discussed, and how they mesh (or clash) with today’s sociopolitically tremulous climate.

Take your career beyond borders: There’s so much to explore in Lisbon!

The capital of Portugal does not only offer much for the multitude of tourists; Lisbon has successfully emerged as a true entrepreneurial capital. With its special program and by creating excellent conditions for fostering SMEs, Lisbon is attracting a wide variety of entrepreneurs. The start-up scene in Lisbon is thriving with record numbers of companies registered, and there is a large contingent of foreign entrepreneurs who have taken root in the city. The wide availability of support, low taxes and affordable resources all make Lisbon an ideal launching pad for the young and ambitious.

The Lisboa City Hall Programme

The Lisboa City Hall programme stimulates the economy, by supporting people to create their own business. It provides specialised support in the most diverse areas and enables a personalised answer to all with a great idea. Over 300 entrepreneurs have already enrolled and more than 200 personal meetings have been held. “The idea we want to promote is that we have an economy based on knowledge and an entrepreneurial community that is growing. We’re attracting them for a lot of reasons: because we have a financing system, a very competitive fiscal setting for startups; but also because of the lifestyle and quality of life that entrepreneurs find here.” Manual Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy, says.

The success story of Taigo Ribeiro

Consider, for example, this success story of Taigo Ribeiro. Ribeiro sells beautifully canned Portuguese fish products from his Tuk-Tuk. He was the first to receive the support of the Lisbon scheme. Through the programme, Ribeiro was able to buy his first vehicle and initial stock. Beyond financial support, he also enjoyed coaching and personal mentoring. The programme enabled him to feel stronger. At the moment, his products are sold worldwide via Internet and are even available in stores around Europe.

Invest Lisboa

So much for the business activities in Lisbon? Not at all! The city’s entrepreneurial support is not limited to just the City Hall programme; Invest Lisboa is a Lisbon-based investment promotion agency. In 2009, Invest Lisboa was the result of a strategic partnership, aiming to attract investment, companies and talent. Invest Lisboa is a one-stop shop for companies, investors and entrepreneurs looking to invest or set up their business in Lisbon. Ambitious as they are, their strategic vision is to achieve full employment in Lisbon.

Convinced that Lisbon is the city for business to take place? And interested to discover it for yourself?

This is your chance!

Join this year’s Careers Beyond Borders from the 21st to the 25th of February and have an unforgettable experience.

Apply now!

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are dealing with a lot of prejudices. They would be more narcissistic than other generations, prefer flexibility above stability and care more about idealism instead of earning money. But is this really true? Actually not.  Since a couple of years HR specialists, trendwatchers and consultants started to investigate this target group, which seems very hard to reach.

Millennials are digital natives, which basically means that they were born with a computer in their hands. No wonder that social media is such an important place for them. It is nowadays the center of marketing and communication. But just a digital presence as a company is not that simple. You have to offer much more.

Multitasking is the new relaxing

According to Forbs, for many millennials multitasking is the new relaxing. Study shows that millennials use different media devices at the same time. Companies can benefit from this, by spreading a whole advertisement budget across multiple platforms. On the other hand, this does not mean that you have to reach every millennial in the same way.

“Hiding behind a pretty website is not good enough”

Therefore, it is good to make it personal. Hiding behind a pretty website, or a very well organized customer services are not enough. The threshold to contact someone should be low. This means that you have to react soon to questions or remarks, but also show who are the people behind a company. It makes your company more reliable.

The five things millennials have in common

Of course, it is important to notice that every millennial is different, and therefore you need to make content as personalized as possible. But sure there are some aspects that millennials have in common. And therefore you do not have to make everything personal into detail.  Sprout claims that there are five values which all millennials have in common: happiness, passion, diversity, sharing and discovering. On the basis of these values, you can create the best millennial proof content ever.

Join the Amsterdam Commercial Night

Do you want to learn more about this topic? Do not wait any longer and join the Amsterdam Commercial Night! During this awesome evening, you will get all the information you need about millennials, provided by professional companies. PepsiCo will talk about their rebranding campaign on Lay’s Sensations, AB InBev about a case on Jupiler and Tomorrowland and GroupM about their media campaigns of IKEA! Additionally, there is room for informal network drinks with the firms and you can even get your LinkedIn checked!

Tickets are going pretty hard, so don’t wait any longer if you want to join us! Get your tickets here and follow the event on Facebook!

The Amsterdam Commercial Night – Thursday 30 November 2017 from 07:30 to 11:00 PM

Have you ever imagined what Amsterdam would look like without any form of advertising on the streets? Maybe it has crossed my mind, but the scenario seemed to unrealistic to give any further thought. Not for Gilberto Kassab, a former mayor of São Paulo. Due to the exponential growth of advertising in the city and the difficulty to regulate it, Kassab decided in 2006 to ban advertising altogether. He introduced the “Clean City Law”, outlawing the use all outdoor advertisements, including billboards, transit and storefront signs. In a single year, 15.000 billboards and 300.000 oversized storefront signs were removed in the the city. Was São Paulo in 2006 the start of an era of ad-free cities? Or is it just naïve to think we can fully banish advertising?

Positive Vibes

For São Paulo, it has definitely led to some positive things. The hidden beauty of the urban city was revealed and the unique character was able to resurface. To help people identify and distinguish between businesses, buildings were painted in various colours making the public space vibrant and attractive again. Moreover, it freed up space for street artists to work on graffiti masterpieces. And above all, it forced them to be creative and agile, leading to a thriving advertising industry. They had to come up with alternative methods, like indoor innovations such as elevator ads, but the primary focus was on digital media. It has made São Paulo a front runner in the area of social media and digital marketing.  

No pain, No Gain

On the other hand, São Paulo had to deal with some negative consequences as well. The city went through something like an identity crisis, since the uncovered and ugly concrete jungle was making the city look worse without its advertising mask. The once hidden favelas were revealed showing gross inequalities and the city became less safe due to the loss of lighting. Furthermore, it had a large impact on the local economy, leading to revenue losses and the disappearance of jobs. Not to mention the limitation of the freedom of speech. Consumers have less information on which to base purchase decisions, damaging the rules of a market economy.

We may think that advertising is the devil bringing us nothing but misery, but there might be more to it. People have a basic need for relevant, entertaining and informative content. If it’s done in the right way, commerce can be a valuable exchange. If brands are part of the public space, it enters people’s thoughts and becomes the subject of conversations. And most of all, advertising helps to fund city infrastructure and is often a crucial source of revenue for many cities. Generally, it is not feasible to discard advertising.

Yay or nay?

All in all, an advertising ban has a big impact on the economy. It might look better, with less distraction and more focus on art, but it is a utopia? If it’s not on the streets, it will be somewhere else. Marketers will find other ways to influence you. And is restriction always the solution? Perhaps, it is possible to find a middle ground that takes all considerations into account. What would you like for Amsterdam?

Written by Jasmijn van Veggel

From passengers getting dragged out of an airplane, to a soft drink that solves social issues. This year we have had it all and thanks to the Internet everyone not only knows about it immediately, but also can comment and share their feelings. When such incidents spread widely, it becomes a nightmare for the particular brand. Let’s first have a look at the most memorable social media fails of 2017 so far.

The one that probably no one missed was when United Airlines dragged an Asian-American man violently off a plane to give his seat to a crew member. Of course people on the plane filmed the whole accident and posted the video on YouTube and Facebook where the clip went viral. It was watched over 5 million times on YouTube and people reacted to it in the funniest ways.


The second greatest corporate social media fail this year, which I’m sure you’ve heard of is from Pepsi. When they released a commercial featuring people of every gender, shape, and color enjoying ice cold Pepsi to show how #woke they are. Yet, they overstepped it by having social media star Kendall Jenner creating peace between police and protesters by offering the cops a Pepsi. Of course people reacted to this insane idea on social media.

These two examples where obviously two companies not acting according to the understanding of social and cultural norms. However Dove, who is known for its cultural sensibility (“real beauty” – campaign) now created a new campaign offering customers a limited-edition of six different body wash bottles who are representing the diversity of woman’s body. The containers are curvy, skinny or hilariously pear shaped. This campaign has been seen very critically on the Internet. Even though many believe it was a great idea, the majority criticized the way Dove executed this idea. Is every woman now supposed to pick the bottle that most closely aligns with their own body shape? Is okay, if a skinny woman chooses a round bottle? Well, for sure people reacted to it on social media networks.

All of these events would have never been viewed so widely if it wasn’t for the Internet. Nowadays, when a brand makes a mistake it may receive backlash from millions of people around the world.  All these comments and shares on social media made the incidents go viral. When people react to it by creating their own pictures and more content, the effect even multiplies. In the three examples mentioned above, the reaction of people was obviously not in favor of the brands, but it can also be the other way around. The best example of 2017 would be Salt Bae. Chef Nusret Gökce went viral with his video adding salt to raw meat in an artistic way. This led to great attention to his chain of Turkish steak houses.

In conclusion it can be said that marketers will never be able to control which content goes viral and which not. They can only try to lead it in a favorable direction. And for sure people will always continue to react, create, share and comment their own opinions.

Written by Meike Behrens

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party (PVV), is also infamously known as anti-immigration, anti-Islam, and a Eurosceptic. With the disconcerting rise of right-wing populism, the results of the Dutch national election have afforded a sigh of relief for many throughout Europe, and the world. As if Wilders’ popularity in the Netherlands is not concerning enough, the use of Wilders’ political marketing mirrored many of the tactics and political rhetoric of the ill-famed Donald Trump.

The lead up to the Dutch national election was plagued with Wilders leading in the polls. This gain was backed by a party platform that was summarized on a single page; tactics that Trump knew all too well: repeat simple, key messages meant for a common voter. The resemblances of Wilders’ campaign were dangerously similar to that of Trump’s from the use of framing and outrageous Tweeting, to boycotting interviews and debates. Wilder’s political marketing took more than a few pages from the “Trump playbook.”

Political Rhetoric

Propagating messages directly to voters, through repetition of simple messages, with little substance appeals to the common voter. Yet, most political sophisticates can see that this use of framing is simply a persuasive political marketing technique. Trump won his campaign by appealing to the “everyday” American fed up with the establishment; while Wilders mirrored this marketing tactic appealing to the everyday Dutch voter, as Henk and Ingrid referred to them. Both Wilders and Trump used provocative accusations and slogans to raise attention and advertise themselves as the most ethnically intolerant candidate. Trump garnered support by labeling Mexicans as rapists, and Wilders echoed the same rhetoric only with Moroccans and Muslims. To make a more obvious comparison, one does not need to be an expert in rhetoric to spot the obvious similarities in Wilders’ New Years Eve Tweet.

Perhaps Wilders should have been subtler, it is clear that he was channelling his inner Trump, borrowing Trump’s favourite adjective (fantastic, of course), and only slightly altering his campaign slogan.

A Personal Narrative

How was Wilders’ campaign successful based on a platform that was highly racist but incredibly low on substance? Wilders avoided mainstream media by refusing many interviews and boycotting participation in debates to create a media narrative that was largely controlled by his party and followers. Sound familiar? Much of Trump’s success can be attributed to his erratic, offensive, and often entertaining use of his personal Twitter account. By evading the mainstream media Wilders and Trump were able to spew dishonest, divisive, and racist messages that provoked hatred, passion, and support for their campaigns.

Twitter: the Ultimate Tool for a Populist

The use of Twitter was instrumental in Trump’s campaign; Wilders took inspiration from Trump’s Twitter success and summarized the lack of integrity that characterized his entire campaign in a single Tweet.

This Tweet was an altered photo, which photoshopped the D66 leader Alexander Pechtold into a rally that presented signs promoting Shariah law and pinning Islam against Europe. Although most recognized this tweet as manipulated by Wilders, it was successful at reinforcing this anti-Islam narrative. Once again, Twitter acted as a forum where Wilders could control the message, a message that would not have been picked up by any reputable mainstream news source. Fellow politicians urged Wilders to delete his Twitter account, with Wilders responding “180 characters and an old fake photo from 2009. #ilovetwitter.” More like, how much rubbish can you pack into 180 characters? #FakeNews. The rise of fake news and alternative facts largely increased during Trump’s campaign and has continued to be a contentious issue with Trump’s presidency. Wilders followed the strategic yet tasteless use of Twitter, demonstrating the dangerously similar elements of both campaigns.

If an orange face, and platinum hair were the only similarities these two men shared the future of the global political landscape would look much brighter. The concerns posed by the resemblances of Wilders and Trump’s political marketing is far more detrimental than similarities between two politicians. Rather, these commonalities represent a larger change in political marketing, one where the incitement of hatred and distribution of dishonest social media has become normalized.

Written by Alexandra Martin