You’ve likely heard the term “Emotional Appeal” before.

Chances  are that a marketing teacher, co-worker, or boss has said that Emotional Appeal can be an effective technique to build a connection with your audience and make them interested in your product. And, well… they’re right.

Emotional Appeal can sometimes be omitted or be unremarkable in the sea of other ads competing for your attention.

A beer ad, for example, may advertise a peaceful lifestyle on the beach and happiness among good looking people. There are many other beer companies advertising along similar lines, playing on those same emotions.

However, one often overlooked form of Emotional Appeal is making a timely short term campaign. If you get hold of a trend while it is still rising, there’s a good chance that you will be able to find an angle to capture audiences’ attention.   However, one of the most difficult problems when creating ads is that trends can die quickly, before the ads are all in place. For this reason, it is important to look for the underlying emotions that trend evokes.

One recent example of a ‘trend’ that’s very popular right now involves Talia Castellano. To summarize, Talia is a 13-year old girl, a cancer patient from Florida. She posted some makeup tutorial videos on YouTube and Ellen DeGeneres, the little girl’s idol, invited her onto The Ellen Show.

As soon as the show went live, Talia became an instant sensation across North America! She was trending on twitter, Google searches, YouTube, and had half a million likes on her Facebook fan-support page. The general emotion generated by her fans was pity, sadness, and inspiration for Talia’s good spirit in face of adversity.

Sadly, Talia passed away on July 16th.  Ellen gave Talia a professionally shot . Only then did I realize how much potential CoverGirl had for an entire new campaign launch. The campaign revolved around what teachers and colleagues have been talking about: Emotional Appeal.

The reaction this company received from making Talia a CoverGirl was incredible. Their new Talia-inspired Facebook posts are still receiving record-breaking likes, shares, and comments on social media. Because of the giant wave of sympathy for Talia and wide-exposure of the event, CoverGirl was able to instantly gain large fan-support, which they could further capitalize on if they play on the emotions and make a Talia product line.

A product line, or just a few products with the name dedicated to the young girl, would have many fans lining up to support her memory. Even more hordes of well-wishers would support the if CoverGirl  decided to donate a percentage of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society (or Canadian Cancer Society).  They would be able to increase profits and good will at the same time, while supporting a worthwhile cause.

There are many similar tactics a marketer could use with their company in the future.   Remember, however, that this is a short term advertising strategy. Inevitably, the story will be replaced by another over time. The key to selling trend-based Emotional Appeal is to act quickly and ride the wave.  That is where a quick thinking entrepreneur or marketer could get the jump on larger, slow-to-act conglomerates.

Some insight, as well as a bit of luck, is required to get on a story that will ‘blow-up’ or ‘go viral’.  It pays to have an active marketing team to keep your content and ads fresh and current.   If you arrive at the station too late, you’ll miss the train.