Sadvertising refers to a consumer advertising trend in which ad creators are using a certain set of strategies to play on people's emotions and touch off feelings of sadness, melancholy or wistfulness. Touching or emotional advertising has become increasingly popular in recent years as companies work to create strong emotional ties around their products. It is also believed that advertising that elicits an emotional reaction from viewers is more likely to be shared, particularly online and over social media. By attempting to reach consumers on a deeper level, sadvertising represents an attempt to gain their attention in an increasingly ad-cluttered world.
One of the big ideas behind sadvertising is the sudden shift in advertising across generations. Not too long ago, comedy and laughter were the most common advertising strategies. Sadvertising is a kind of logical progression, although it doesn't really work the same way that comedy did.
While there is a lot of potential for innovating advertising to bring out a wider range of emotions, some experts point out that there are inherent limitations to sadvertising that do exist with comic advertising. While many forms of comedy can be considered harmless in advertising, sadness is, at its heart, a negative emotion based on negative outcomes, which is something that marketers have classically avoided. That means that in sadvertising, marketers must walk a fine line between tugging at consumers' heartstrings and making them feel depressed.