Top 5 Non-Humor Forms of Entertainment #2: Heartfelt Moments

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Are you nervous about using entertainment in your social video content? Many of us fear that entertainment is out of our league and risky to our professionalism.

Follow these 3 tested techniques for applying “heartfelt moments” to your YouTube videos, and you will be well on your way towards engaging your audience. In fact, our study of the top viral videos demonstrated that the use of heartfelt moments is the fifth most effective technique used by advertisers to boost their viral video statistics.

3 Ways to Boost Viral Video Stats with Heartfelt Moments

One way to capture your audience is through sweat and tears. Many television commercials re-casted on YouTube went viral when they featured a motivational message or tear jerking moment. In effect, these moments tap into our souls with what we dream to become or where we long to return.

Whether the moments result in pumping adrenaline or tears of pride, you can expect a high level of video sharing and engagement when using these techniques in a sincere way. 

Among the types of heartfelt moments that perform best on YouTube are the following:

    1. Motivational Inspiration

  1. Sentimental Memories
  2. Proud Moments
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Concepts for Conjuring Up Heartfelt Feelings


In 1975, an unknown actor and film producer shocked the world with a $225 million film that later produced five more successful sequels. In the film, a kind hearted debt collector named Rocky Balboa overcomes all odds as a prize fighter. To this date, the infamous “Gonna Fly Now” song is used by many to fuel their willpower.

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Rags-to-Riches Rocky Balboa Serves as an Inspiration to Over Achievers

A number of sports product sponsors have elected this route. At the core of most themes is a gut wrenching scene of an over-achiever mustering up all their will power to get ahead. Others feature the background scenes of or inspirational messages from admired performers who demonstrate their dedication to hard work.

Sentimental Memories

But we can also stir the heart through compassion and tender memories. For years, Hallmark chose this route with sentimental scenes that rekindle family ties. Some, like McDonald’s, capitalized on first love scenes that remind us of the awkward, but heart throbbing moments that live with us forever. Others, like Chevy and Volkswagon, often create nostalgic connections where we long to revisit our youth.

Common to all is a sentimental moment of reflection on what is important in life. Whether its through scenes of family gatherings or fond memories of the past, the concept especially works well when applied to traditional family connections.  

Proud Tributes

Perhaps the most effective way to rouse a sentimental attachment is through patriotic tributes. Budweiser and American Airlines took this route in their special tributes to 911 and our troops, respectively.

When the story-lines conjure up proud feelings as parents or countrymen that touch our own sentiments toward family and heritage, the video can especially score high on brand association. In their tributes to the motor city, Chrysler did much to restore the pride of hard hit Detroit. Similar feelings are stirred when offering tributes to the passing of legendary figures.

Study Background

A total of 3351 high performing videos (> 50K views) were examined in this ranking of top YouTube videos. These viral videos included re-casted television commercials that were posted on YouTube as a social media video back channel. Statistics were then recorded on the number of likes, dislikes, comments and views, where an exploratory study was subsequently published with the Academy of Marketing Science and 2013 Cross-Cultural Research Conference.

From the final list of most viewed YouTube videos, about 6% involved some type of heartfelt moments. This form of viral video engagement ranked number fourteen, two and three in average views, comments as % of views, and net likes as % of views, respectively.

So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using heartfelt moments as an entertaining content marketing theme?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

42 thoughts on “Top 5 Non-Humor Forms of Entertainment #2: Heartfelt Moments

  1. Heartfelt moments is an effective content marketing theme. At least for the people that have hearts, and I would hope that most of us do. Some people are able to relate personally to heartfelt moments that marketers use for commercials, most times because of personal experience. I honestly cannot see anyone not being touched my most of the heartfelt moments commercials that I have seen.

  2. I really appreciate the social media course. It is worth it. In fact, I did not know if social media occupied almost 75 percent of our viewers in content marketing. The class helps me understand the impact of the media among us. Social media is an effective way to target our audience,. We should continue to implement the cop of social media. I have ever resorted to using heartfelt moment as an entertaining context marketing before. Now I know how hearthfelt moment is a powerful tool for content marketing and I am ready to explore it.

  3. So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using heartfelt moments as an entertaining content marketing theme?

    Using heartfelt moments is a great way to draw in your target audience and get their attention. By using something touching and personal your audience can make a closer connection to you and the product / service that you are trying to market. Once the people are listening and paying attention they will be more likely to receive the information and hopefully purchase the product. Making a connection to people is always a great and effective way to go.

  4. Heartfelt commercials are some of my favorite. They draw me in every time!

    Another good example to add to your list:
    Derrick Coleman’s Duracell commercial:

    This is an example of Motivation: Inspirational Messages and Striving for Excellence. Derrick Coleman plays in the NFL and the commercial highlights the struggles that he went through to get to where he is today. Duracell captures their audience with this heartfelt and inspiring story. It is an example of inspiration and striving for excellence, because Coleman explains in the commercial that he never gave up and did not let his hearing impairment and the setbacks that came as a result of the impairment keep him from achieving his goal of playing in the NFL.

  5. Heartfelt moments tend to make you stop and think. They help you to recall a time when you experienced an emotion similar to the one being viewed. Heartfelt moments touch your soul and make you want to support the underdog or the reason behind the emotion. When we as humans become emotional, we tend to over eat, over spend and simply to over indulge in many activities; so it only makes sense for advertisers to tug at your heart strings, because they want your money or your support. I think a heartfelt moment in marketing is a great tool if not over used. If it becomes over used then we will see people hardening their views on various subjects and not supporting or being charitable to positive causes any more.

  6. So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using heartfelt moments as an entertaining content marketing theme?

    I think using heartfelts moments is one of the most powerful ways to engage the audience and make a connection with them. This goes beyond humor and putdowns because it goes deeper than the superficial surface and really tugs at the heart. Many of the examples although the viewer may not relate to directly, they allow you to put yourself in those situations and the impact is just as powerful. I feel that everytime you talk about family whether it be thinking back on your children growing up or welcoming a loved one home from the army, it touches the heart of every viewer and makes that moment so powerful. I used the example og the Google Chrome Dear Sophie commercial in my post and also feel that the Publix mother’s day commercials both do an amazing job at using heartfelts moments to engage the audience in such a powerful way.

  7. I’ve not professionally used heartfelt moments in an entertaining content marketing theme, but after watching the videos above, I surely believe that heartfelt moments are truly an effective way to go. Of all the videos, though, the Pride Tributes were the most powerful. They stirred up so much emotion in me that I could not help but get tear jerked. The idea of selflessness and sacrificing one’s life for personally unknown others is amazing. These type of people are a rare gem. The American Airlines commercial reminds all Americans not to overlook but honor such men and women. The use of a woman in the military makes the commercial even more touching, because women had and in some men’s eyes may still be considered second class citizens. The AA ad brings understanding (why put military people first) and a focus on what is important in life (one’s character). The old man saluting the militarily dressed woman was the best and most honorable moment of all because it shows and encourages a shift in gender balance.

  8. I love “heartfelt moment” commercials! I swear they get me every time whether I relate to the situation or not. Companies want to find that soft spot in the consumers heart where they can wiggle their way in and stay. I think Publix always does a fabulous job incorporating the Sentimental and Proud Moments into their advertisements especially around the holidays.

  9. I can definitely relate to commercials with “heartfelt moments” because these are the commercials that stand out the most to me. I always remember every Publix commercial because they tap into people’s emotions with their family story lines and how the brand brings families together. These videos have high engagement because they are impactful on many different audiences. A brand like Publix wants to create strong emotional ties with people so that they are the supermarket of choice, one that is reliable and families love. This category of commercials is one that I personally relate to and aside from humorous commercials, these that contain heartfelt moments, are my favorite.

  10. I believe “heartfelt moments” are a great marketing tool. “Heartfelt moments” are meant to relate to the viewer. Many of these commercials touch a personal moment in the viewer’s life, whether if its striving for something, being with a family member, or being a part of the military. When a viewer relates with the commercial, they will most likely give full attention to it and will respect the company that produced the commercial. That respect may lead to that person using that company one day for something. Heartfelt moments are effective and I definitely would want to use that tool in the future when I go market something.

  11. When a company is uses heartfelt moments in their commercials, they establish a positive connection with viewers. I think that heartfelt moments differ from the previous examples we have seen in the sense that viewers are connecting with the company and remembering the product on a much deeper level than those of humor or exaggeration. I think that there a lot of funny commercials out there but there are not many that can bring a viewer to tears or to a deep sense of emotion in such a short amount of time.

  12. I personally think these are commercials that send a positive message out to people. Some commercials may not make a good point, but some spread a positive message. For example, during Super Bowl 2013 Jeep released a commercial to honor veterans while trying to sell the Jeep as an American tradition. I for instance am a veteran of the Armed forces and I think it’s good that advertising tries to send a message about wanting to honor our troops who make our country safe. I am a believer in using proud moments in advertising.

  13. I am very interested in this portion of the blog. I am a person that loves motivational videos. I also am one of the most patriotic people you will ever come across, so I am a fan of proud tributes. The commercials featuring anything about the US military motivate me so much!

  14. I thoroughly enjoy commercials motivational and sentimental themes. They are probably my favorite type of commercial that is out there right now. I believe this theme to be timeless. Advertisers have used motivation and sentimental moments for many years and will utilize this theme for years to come. I believe what allows this theme to be so successful is that it allows for the viewer to become emotionally attached to the product, brand, or company. It provides a common link between the company and the viewer that is crucial. Overcoming obstacles and hardships, watching your child grow up, winning a game, and becoming successful at something are all very motivational and allow the viewer to remember this brand. It plants the seed unlike any other theme, in my own personal opinion.

    1. I chose this heartfelt moment video which I feel captures the essence of proud moments. It has a patriotic tribute theme to those that serve and protect our country. Jeep really did a great job at tugging at the ole heart strings with these proud moments. I’m always surprised when I see something with religious undertones or reference to prayer because everyone is so touchy these days about spirituality. I enjoyed watching this. I have kids and I own a Jeep. It reminded me of sentimental memories of my own. I really connected well, and I imagine many others did as well. If a primetime slot for a touching ad doesn’t get your message out there, it always helps when you have Oprah as the narrator.

  15. I, personally, love motivational commercials – especially commercials that are directed towards athletes. Being an athlete is not always easy; for example, you have people that want to break you down, or work outs are mentally and physically exhausting. Therefore, when I see these kind of advertisements, they do exactly what they are supposed to do – motivate me to be faster, stronger and better.

  16. There is something extremely effective about using heartfelt moments in advertisements. I believe that it ranks just under using humor for being an effective form of marketing. These commercials usually bring you back to moments you’ve had in your own life, and provide an opportunity to relate and reminisce. There is at least one or two heartfelt commercials that have played at some point in which a person has related to and that in my eyes is very effective.

  17. So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using heartfelt moments as an entertaining content marketing theme?

    I believe that heartfelt moments are an extremely effective route to take if you are an advertiser. I believe they engage the viewers and provide a sense of calm that most commercials do not provide. An issue I have and I believe most people have is that commercials become loud, this is no secret to anyone. The volume of commercials is at least double. But when you have a commercial that provides sentimental value, including proud moments and motivation it is a lot less “in your face” than most commercials and allows viewers to pay attention to what they are trying to get across. I also feel that these commercials are easily relateable and provide high value.

  18. I personally dislike these types of commercials. I always feel they are cheesy and take away from the actual product the business is trying to market. They are pretty effective on the mass public, but I feel like my feelings are being almost manipulated. I just feel these types of commercials never focus on the product, but just try to make you cry, and hopefully you’ll buy the product because of the emotional attachment you just formed with it.

  19. Hello Everyone!
    I thought that these commercials were perfect! Some of them honestly got to me. I believe that this is an effective way to go because these types of videos connect with the audience. It is good to be funny but the one thing that never can go wrong are heartfelt moments because people understand. I think these types of connections engages the audience and they are real life examples. I have never resorted to this type of entertaining content but I would. My dad showed me a long time ago a thai commercial that I actually posted for this weeks discussion and that a video that always stayed in my mind because of the message it gave. Although I would do comedian commercials to market whatever product, I honestly think I would chose something that got a message across to the audience. If a commercial for true move could be that inspirational imagine products that would benefit the public.

  20. I feel that heartfelt moments are more particular to the person and his/her emotional level. This can be an effective marketing technique depending on the audience. Some people are emotionally disconnected, and are not as affected by touching moments as compared to someone who is sentimental. This applies to all aspects of media and entertainment. One person may be in tears from watching a heartfelt moment, while another may appreciate it but not have a deep emotional reaction and therefore may not have it engraved in their memory. A marketing technique is only efficient if people remember it, so – as stated earlier – this a more specific category in my opinion. I have used this technique in a class where I made a video representing both inspirational messages and striving for excellence involving children with disabilities. I was able to observe the reaction from the class, and some students were more clearly affected than others.

  21. I think heartfelt moments are a great way to grab peoples attention to what you are trying to say. It can be expressed in a variety of ways though. Either through emotional or humorous expressions. Everyone will look at it differently but it really matters on the majority of the watchers.

  22. Heartfelt moment commercials are great for the fact that they really pull at the heartstrings and captivates those who are watching. These commercials give a good break from the extreme, outlandish videos and reminds people that there is more to life. In a way, when a customer watches the commercial, they are influenced to use the product or service to better their lives. And it usually does because most business do not use moving videos unless they can be trusted.

  23. So what do you think? Is this an effective way to go? Have you ever resorted to using heartfelt moments as an entertaining content marketing theme?

    I said this before, motivation is my personal favorite. As well as being the type of attention grabber that definitely grabs my attention. I believe motivation, inspiration, proud moments, and sentimental memories to be the most affective when it comes to grabbing an audiences attention. I read on another post that they believe that this type of selling point works well because there is usually a direct connection. I believe this to be true as well. Some of the commercials I have been inspired by over the years have a direct connection to my top interest which is tennis, or to sports in general. Although I do also believe this type of commercial to be motivational in general and that is why they do work. Some viewers become motivated by watching things they would have never done or tried before. If I had to chose my favorite attention grabbing theme motivational/inspirational/sentimental moments would be my top choice, it evokes emotion and passion from within.

  24. Heartfelt moments are so great because of how they play upon human emotions. Something like motivational inspiration, sentimental memories, or proud moments are things that people can relate to. When someone can relate to something they pay more attention to it. It even resonates with the viewer more. So heartfelt moments are such an effective video engagers because of their ability to capture peoples emotions and the way that people can relate or feel good about them.

  25. This advertisement technique in my opinion is extremely successful. Emotional connections are one of the strongest connections that exist. Things that connect people emotionally stick with them whether negative or positive. At some point in their lives people have experienced the feeling or a similar feeling that the company is trying to bring up. I believe these commercials are often motivational even beyond the product they are trying to sell. Its almost like they’re saying follow your dreams with the help of our product.

  26. This advertisement technique is truly one of the most effective because of the connection that the viewer/consumer makes while watching the commercial as well as the direction that it is geared towards in regards to targeting a certain generation. While watching the examples of each category I realized that these commercials are geared towards a more direct audience. Although, many of us enjoy these commercials and are more than likely to watch these types of commercials versus the others, there is a correlation between the category used and the generation that the marketer intends to attract. For example, commercials that utilize the technique of motivation attract mostly the generation of ‘millennials’ which are the ones who are currently into working out, participating in sports, and are mostly active. Over all, these types of commercials are more effective because of the true ‘connection’ that they make. Over all, the message and the product is directly presented while at the same time embedding a sense of emotional awe to the viewer. Lastly, I have never personally used this technique but if I had to chose one, this would be the winner.

  27. I find this marketing method to be one of the best, if not THE best one out there. Heartfelt moments truly connect with the largest audience out there. Commercials that consist of inspirational messages and sentimental messages grab the audience’s attention and keep them watching. They not only watch the commercial, but they usually connect with the characters in it as well. If I ever needed to market, I would use this approach first.

  28. Heartfelt moments advertisements are usually my favorite ones because unlike the funny advertisements that only make you laugh while watching them; these type of advertisements carry a special message that can not only motivate but also inspire its viewers. I think that heartfelt moment commercials are more complex than other as they have a double function, promote the product as well as inspire or motivate.

    1. Good point, Ana Marie. I believe this heartfelt technique, by its very nature, stirs emotions that can attach to the brand image. In addition to inspiring us, some tap into our compassionate side. Hallmark does this very well in their commercials about family ties. As a result, they likely have a stronger and more lasting attachment to their brand than can be achieved with comic wit. Thank you for your comment.

  29. “Heartfelt Moments” involve tapping into the consumer’s attention by way of sentimental emotion verses through comedy. These commercials focus on positive messages rather then putting someone/something down in a negative way. Personally, I do enjoy these commercials although I do not believe them to be as strong as the “Astonishment” commercials. Heartfelt moments often apply to families because the marketers are attempting to pull in their customers with emotional family ties. I have never used this form of marketing.

    1. Results do in fact show that astonishment works better than heartfelt moments, Kelsey. But heartfelt moments still ranks as five out of 15 known techniques for video entertainment. I believe much of its popularity relates to the patriotic and inspirational side of this entertainment. Millennials, in particular, seem to engage in those “no pain, no gain” commercials. Baby boomers resonate with proud moments depicted in patriotic tributes. Thank you for your comments.

  30. Heartfelt moments are great because they truly can lift the spirit of the viewer and inspire them to do something great. I personally enjoy the commercials of “no pain, no game” because they fire me up and motivate me to go out and play sports or workout to get better. Everyone has the potential to go do something great and with the positivity these advertisements can provide to the viewer, they can be a great marketing technique.

    1. This is one of the best non-humor techniques to use, Paul. I sometimes believe that as beer and car commercials drowned our air waves with comic wit and put-down humor, we lost sight of touching moments and inspirational stories. When handled well, precious moments, in particular, can boost a sponsor’s brand image. Just consider how Hallmark developed their brand. Thank you for sharing.

  31. Personally these commercials really touch my heart. They motivated me and make me appreciate the little things in life. I think that many people experience what I feel when watching similar commercials. In that case I think they are very effective. Heart felt moments can inspire viewers in many different aspects of their lives.

    1. I agree with you, Maegan. I used to feel that heartfelt moments were well worn. But when I saw the commercials on patriotic tributes, it really stirred me. It is also great to see the purer aspects of life in the eyes of our youth. Watching that first kiss or act of boldness brings back great memories. Thank you for your comment.

    2. I think they have more lasting appeal as well, Maegan. I often find myself struggling to recall the sponsor behind a funny commercial. On the other hand, Hallmark, Gatorade and Nike stick in my mind as heartfelt messages. When the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed to the twin towers, I bet many tears were shed. That likely adds to brand association. Thank you for your comment.

  32. Most of the commercial featuring heartfelt moments are real tear jerkers and they affect the viewer in an emotionally positive way. Most people can relate to these videos because they remind them of a period in their own lives where they had to overcome an obstacle, or had to ‘dig deep’ to achieve a goal; or maybe these type of commercials can actually motivate a person to fulfill their dreams.

    1. I also find it encouraging, Nicola, that these videos reach high engagement. After watching the many humorous episodes of unruliness or malicious joy, I begin to feel we only enjoy putting others down or letting loose. The comment trails of these videos are often very disgusting. So it’s refreshing to note that many of us still enjoy watching others lift their spirits or reflect on precious moments. Thank you for sharing.

  33. These heartfelt moment commercials are very sentimental and motivational. Whether it’s the Publix commercial or the commercial from Pfizzer, these type of ads or commercials will catch your eye. These are real life experiences and these companies know how to tie it in to their brand and know how to get the message across.

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