11 Brands That Excel In Human Centered Advertising

Humans are at the center focus of every business out there, whether it’s education, fashion, entertainment, or tech. And what connects with each of these industries? Marketing. If you have a business, you’ll want to market it, and what is each marketer’s goal? To have people like you, me, or them engage with them. Thus, every campaign and content created is done so with one aim in mind: Customers. The age-old cliche of the customer is always right wasn’t created out of spite, it’s true. Your efforts are defined by how your customers are behaving. They’re not purchasing your products? You create a campaign that can make them. Are people not happy with your customer service? You’ll train your team or find a new one.

Humans are, by every means, driving businesses forward, and thus, it’s important for those businesses to market themselves among these people so they can grow better. This is why concepts like AIDA, flywheel, and funnels are founded; to understand human psychology and create content and campaigns that attract them on the different stages of their lives and buyer journeys. Once you know what stage your customer is on, you create ads and content that then attracts and entices them, and one of the most significant forms of advertising that help people relate is human centered advertising content.

What is human centered advertising content?

As the name suggests, human centered content is using humans as the subject of the ad you’re creating. People connect with people – they want to hear and read stories that can help them relate and form meaningful connections. That’s why using the “human factor” in advertisements is so essential, and why it keeps people interested and engaged with your brand. That’s why Humans of New York has such a large community – they tell you stories you instantly connect to. This is why brands like Apple, Nike, Gillette, and Facebook create story-based content that talks more about their audience than their products.

We’ve got a list of ten such brands that have excelled with human centered advertising content and created ads that attract you the minute you start watching them. These brands are some of the biggest names in the global marketplace, and their content is part of the reason they’re so well-loved. So without further ado, here are 11 brands that excel in human centered content in their ads.

Google

What started as a search platform grew into basically the internet king in a span of just over two decades, but even a humongous brand like Google needs to market its products from time to time. But how to promote a product like Google Search, a platform that processes 350 billion+ searches every day, by the way, with content that’ll stay with you for a long, long time? With a story that you’ve known since childhood. Check out this ad from Google India that tells you a story of a Bollywood hero with a journey you have explored yourself multiple times. Oh, and do pay attention to the lyrics.

Facebook

As controversial as Facebook is, you still can’t deny its power in the world of social media. And whether you like the network itself or not, you know it is creating a lot of opportunities for people to connect with each other, and even with their customers, and this proved to be true especially during COVID-19, a story that they decided to tell in detail with Pooja Didi’s story.

British Airways

Traveling. Visiting. Visiting family. Visiting mum. The emotional factor keeps growing and growing with each phrase and the final one is what British Airways focused on in an ad that may have been seen by almost everyone. And well, let’s just say that it isn’t fair for an aviation service to make us that emotional.

Shan

Shan is a leading food and spice brand in Pakistan with astounding global reach (*cough* Gigi Hadid *cough*). And being such a common household product, of course, Shan has ads that people love. But one such ad made the news left, right, and center, when two brothers living abroad decided to, recreated their mother’s biryani from back home and made everyone cry or at least feel an odd lump in their throat. Remember that ad, right? Let’s watch it again.

Tanishq

One of India’s leading jewelry brands, Tanishq is known for its emotion inducing ads. But it pulled a definite number with an ad that I’ve probably watched more times than any other ad. It’s a wedding story that focuses on brides and their connections with their fathers. Weddings are a market feminized to the T and in such a market, seeing an ad that doesn’t focus on the bride alone or their mothers, but a relation between them and their fathers is special and very interesting to watch.

McDonald’s

Do you also get emotional when it comes to McDonald’s fries? Same. But we’re not talking about that here. Instead, we’re going to talk about a story they told with the help of a boy and his mother who are talking about his deceased dad. The boy tries to find similarities between him and his father and surprisingly, what connects them is a McDonald’s order. Why this ad? Because of the lack of overtly obvious product placements, almost real life-like story, and an emotional connection that doesn’t seem far fetched.

Surf Excel

Surf Excel decided that it needed to excel not just in hygiene but emotions too, and that’s when they came up with an ad that’s been much talked about in marketing circles because of the cuteness and very apt festive relatability in the story. It’s a story of a boy who likes samosas, as simple as that. The surf? It comes way later, and that’s what makes this ad so good.

Zameen.com

While the realtor brand isn’t known to roll out ads that frequently, it’s definitely made a few impactful ones, the most effective of all is the one I’ve linked here. Zameen.com won with this ad, that’s it. The story is your basic busy-dad-sad-kid feature, the copy and the whole concept comes together to make it exceptional. And that fact that Zameen.com didn’t boast of having a million or so listings and all those market connections makes it all the more credible. It’s a story that talks about coming home, that’s it, and it’s so beautifully integrated with the brand’s vision, it’s a case study in itself.

MailChimp

Success is human, right? That’s what MailChimp says so. And to grow your business you need a platform that can tell you exactly what to do next. A platform that, when you ask, “Now what?” can point you in the right direction and answer, “That’s what”. MailChimp has positioned itself content that promotes all that and more, with a very human tone that doesn’t overwhelm you with jargons, rather makes you feel assured that okay, maybe this brand does understand what I am going through.

Pampers

What’s more human than babies? They’re literally the first stage of being a human. But when it comes to babies, not a lot of things can be left to choice; babies are needy (not in a bad way, chill), and there are certain products that they definitely need, one of them being diapers. And Pampers being one of the world’s biggest diaper brands doesn’t need to advertise itself to bring sales, right? Wrong. So how does it decide to advertise its products without in-your-face selling? With Pooface. That’s right, this ad from 2015 captures 10 babies and their unique expressions while pooping and if you’ve ever taken care of a baby, you’ll know this is on point.

Dove

We’ve all seen the Dove Beauty Sketch skit, right? It’s beautiful and amazingly created. But Dove is more than about beauty, it’s about self-care and that too for everyone, including Dads. So to promote their men’s care range, they launched a campaign focusing on fathers who care, and who need care that can be provided by Dove.

Benefits of human centered advertising content

Now that we’ve discussed the brands that are creating next level content, let’s talk about what the benefits are for each. If you watched even 25% of the videos above, you’ll know how you find yourself invested in them almost immediately. The storytelling aspect of these ads is so amazing you can’t help but watch the video in its entirety, then move to the next. And that’s just one benefit of such content.

  • Human content helps you be social in your marketing and connect with people without talking like a salesperson.
  • This type of content creates a brand personality that can help in customer loyalty in the long run.
  • It shows your audience that you care.
  • Human focused content can help you take a personalized approach in all your communication, that helps your audience feel that you’re talking to them, creating an impression of your product’s relevance for them.
  • And lastly, telling human stories in your content can help you make your brand memorable in the longer run.

Using human centered content to convert

Now, we’ve discussed how important human content is and why you should be focusing on the human element of advertising as much as you can. Let’s talk about how it can be used to convert.

Let’s take the Google ad as an example. It hits you right in the head with stories you’ve heard since you were young (if you know Bollywood, that is). The service it focuses on is very common, but seeing the ad, even if the service or product wasn’t that common or accessible – like British Airways or Tanishq – you’d feel connected to the brand anyway because it’s celebrating human emotion. That connection then leads to recall, which helps when you’re finally making a decision to purchase a product in that category.

But you cannot just convert with a single ad. You need to have a hawk-eye view of the whole situation which includes both emotional connection and functional usage. Confusing? Let me explain. Imagine you want to invest in property and you come across the Zameen.com ad (is Facebook listening? Of course). You call up their service department and they help you out with your query with exceptional customer support, frequent follow-ups, and proper feedback. You find the experience to be a breeze as if you’re talking to a known consultant rather than a salesperson. That’s a customer centric mindset through and through. They grab your attention with their ad and follow up with the same values on the ground.

The same concept applies to digital, and it’s called user centric design thinking. Say, you want a cloud photo app that doesn’t cost a dozen, you see a Google ad featuring Nickelback and their song “Photograph” and you find yourself interested almost immediately. You get the app, like the experience, and decide to get on board. Now say the app isn’t well constructed and the design, flow, and even usage is a pain. You’ll not only discard it, but you’ll also think that Google really needs to rethink the integration between its ad strategy and app design. That’s why user centric design thinking is important. But what’s the difference?

  • Human centered content or design: This is the type of content or design that appeals to the emotional part of one’s brain. Human focused content or design is created to resonate and attract people based on emotional reactions they feel once they watch or read your advertisement.
  • User centered design: User centered design or UCD is the process or workflow that you create when designing your website or app with your user in mind. The idea is to focus on users while planning, designing, and developing your platform so that your user can have the best possible experience (UX) when they visit said platform. While human focused design or content is to tap into your emotional experiences, UCD focuses on your rational reactions to provide the best experience after you are enticed with a brand’s ad and decide to visit their website.

That’s it guys, that’s the goal: To connect emotional and rational experiences to bring conversions for your brand. If Google didn’t have such a seamless search interface that’s always improving and becoming more intuitive with time, it would be long gone. If Facebook didn’t have a platform that focused purely on connections (and ads, sorrynotsorry) they wouldn’t be the biggest ad platform out there. Thus, while I started my discussion with how human centered advertising content is great, I had to discuss user experience to bring it full circle and help content and UX UI amateurs understand how important connecting it all to each other.

As for the brands I’ve listed, these aren’t just the ones producing such amazing content. There are tons of brands creating creative and impactful stories each day, and you should explore them all. So tell me, which brands, aside from the ones I’ve listed, do you think should have been part of this blog?

Zainab Abdul Rehman

Content and strategy specialist with a head full of ideas that I never get time to execute.

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