Power of Nonprofit Storytelling | The Power of Emotion in This Super Bowl Ad

April 5, 2023

The winner in this year’s Super Bowl Commercial contest? Hands down it was The Farmer’s Dog‘s ad.

If you’re a dog owner, you know. You want them to live forever. To provide their unconditional love. Forever.

The commercial “tells the story of a human, Ava, and her Labrador retriever, Bear, as they grow up. In a single minute, it captures an arc that’s specific, but likely familiar to many people with dogs: a beloved pup is part of and witness to most of the important moments in his family’s life, making the years they spend together fuller and better”.

The emotional resonance of the ad was no accident. The Farmer’s Dog clearly understands the power of storytelling and emotion in marketing, and they leveraged those tools to great effect in their Superbowl spot. By emphasizing the bond between pets and their owners and showing how the right nutrition can transform a dog’s health, the company was able to connect with viewers on a deeply emotional level.

While The Farmer’s Dog is a for-profit company, their Superbowl ad provides an important lesson for nonprofit organizations as well. Nonprofits often rely on emotional appeals to raise awareness and funds for their causes, and The Farmer’s Dog’s ad demonstrates the power of those appeals when done effectively. By telling compelling stories and tapping into supporters’ emotions, nonprofits can create a connection that can lead to increased support — and lifetime partnerships — for their missions.

I know I was sold. Now Wally the Wonderpup is happily benefitting from her Farmer’s Dog diet.

Our hearts nearly always overrule our heads. Research proves it time and time again.

Yet still, nonprofit organizations have a strong propensity for dry, jargon-laden prose that sets no one’s heart aflame.

If only I had a dime for every time I’ve heard about how “horrible” or “manipulative” the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial is (usually accompanied by a knowing eye roll).

Never mind that it worked.

That ad raised $30 million in the first two years alone of its release.

That emotional connection is at the heart of everything you do. How are you making yours?

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