The Pursuit of Happiness

By: Keelyn Crowe

The real question is do brands have the ability to make the world a happier and kinder place? Brands like McDonalds, Dove and Coke are ready to tackle this assumption with their new ad campaigns for 2015, all with the same theme of happiness and positivity.

ZenithOptimedia did a study that stated that brands that feature “Happiness” as their goal have the best chance at having the best relationships with consumers and also relationships that last long. Linda Tan, who is the director of ZenithOptimedia, thinks that if you find out how millennials find inspiration in their lives the brands can play a role in their happiness.

The first brand that adopted this ideology is McDonalds; they used the Superbowl to first get their message out there. Their commercial featured an ad campaign with the message Pay with Lovin’ in which randomly selected consumers to pay for their meals with things like a hug, or to do a dance, or to say something they loved abut that person. This proved to be a huge success. It boosted the online brand from 30% positive to 85% positive mentions. This ad was featured on multiple websites and it was trending for a while. I even found myself watching it over and over because if how sweet it was, and to see consumers’ reactions when they found out they didn’t have to pay; it was priceless. The idea of a brand focusing on their consumers’ happiness rather than their money is a great way for them to gain more consumers and a positive brand because people will look at them in a more positive light. A brand like McDonald’s doing this is a good idea as well because they are sometimes looked at negatively because of their lack of nutrition and because of the negative criticism their food gets all the time.

McDonalds wasn’t the only one with this idea: Dove, along with Coke, decided to do positive hashtags on twitter to try to get rid of hate online. Dove used the #Speakbeautiful and coke used #Makeithappy. Dove’s goal is to create positive self esteem for women and girls, in which they send tweets to girls with the intent of raising their self-esteem. They also came out with an ad which showed women who were asked to tell an artist what they thought they looked like, and then a random person would tell the artist what they thought that person looked like. The ad was more than inspiring and showed how women look at themselves with much more criticism than when other people look at them. The video became trending and was featured on many media sites and gained a lot of attention.

This campaign proved to be successful for all three brands, with their online presence rising dramatically. Using the theme of happiness is a good way to target people because if someone is having a bad day and they see an ad, like McDonalds’ ad or Dove’s, it could improve their mood and make them want to buy that specific brand.

Source: For Brands, 2015 Is Shaping Up to Be the Year of Positivity. Retrieved April 27, 2015, from

23 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Happiness

  1. Andrew Arcidi April 28, 2015 / 12:36 am

    I agree that creating a more positive, loving vibe around your company will bring consumers because almost everyone likes to be in a positive environment. I think it was smart of McDonald’s to do this to eliminate some of the negative views of the brand and its food. It was very impressive to see the massive spike in positive mentions that McDonald’s got by creating this ad. It really shows how much a companies actions affects it’s view in the consumers minds.


  2. Jimmy Clark April 28, 2015 / 1:18 am

    Bringing happiness into the brand and it’s advertising is a great idea because it gives the company a positive reputation. Mcdonalds always struggles with taking heat for it’s lack of quality and customer service. This campaign gives it a whole new perspective, and shows that it’s company really cares for it’s customers. It’s great to see this add has been successful for them and I expect several other companies to use it and be successful with it as well.


  3. Patrick Breslin April 28, 2015 / 1:29 am

    I believe this marketing strategy of creating happiness that coke, Dove, and McDonalds specifically is a great idea. These brands by tackling making the world a better place put people in a good mood with their advertisements and once the connection with the brand to happiness clicks, those people will be constantly reminded of this happiness when they see those brands products in the future. McDonalds tactic specifically of “paying with lovin” is a great idea because they can start to remove the negative connotations with their brand as well as raise sales by dragging in more customers that want to be the ones to pay with lovin. Everyone wants the feeling that they are the winner or were frugal and saved money. They like that rush of excitement that something went well in their life. Fortunately for McDonalds and other brands marketing happiness these customers end up buying their products and spending more money just to try and gain this rush of excitement for a chance to be the ones that “won”.


  4. Yafen Liu April 28, 2015 / 1:32 am

    I totally agree with you. By creating a happy and kind place, companies could gain more positive reactions from consumers, and then in turn, build a positive brand image. Customers, including the lucky ones, did not go to McDonalds for the free meal, but for the atmosphere there. When consumers’ emotions were woken up, they would remember that moment forever and shared with others. That is, more and more consumers would have a positive and happy memory about the brand and wanted to consume at there.


  5. Meghan Saldutti April 28, 2015 / 1:34 am

    Having “happiness” as the platform for companies would definitely draw attention to their brand especially for customers who are having a bad day, week, or month. Seeing something that could possibly make them happy could actually brighten up their mood. I know if I saw an ad that was fairly positive when I was having a bad day it would make me happier instantly by changing my mood and possibly making me go out and buy their product.


  6. beaudoinr April 28, 2015 / 1:36 am

    I like the thought that happiness will bring the company closer to their customers. As Jimmy stated this modo will give the companies a positive reputation. Customers respect that and show loyalty. With brands like Mcdonalds who are in such a tight competition with competitors, that customer loyalty plays a big part in the success of their company. This is why they have been so successful for so long.


  7. Patrick Lynch April 28, 2015 / 4:50 am

    The ads are really great, because it shows a togetherness. When I look at these ads I notice that they have this happy vibe which does want customers to feel that when they buy their product, but they also form a group for people to not feel judged like Dove’s ad. I think having a sense of togetherness and feeling accepting for trying their product which many people may shy away from coke, McDonald’s, or Dove. This makes the customers feel like they aren’t being judged and that many people are doing what they do,


  8. Blake Boudreau April 28, 2015 / 5:54 am

    Personally, I believe if a Brand ultimately has the goal or image of their ad campaign revolve around being happy then if you see this campaign what negative influence is it going to have on you? Its only going to be a positive influence in my opinion. I feel as this is a very smart tactic by marketers and should be implemented more. Although, Marketers shouldn’t over do the whole happy thing because they may annoy consumers/ future consumers. Also, i think that this “happy” idea is great when a company isn’t known for being to positive. For example Mcdonalds is known for making people fat so if you involve the whole happy factor then maybe it may help them out.


  9. Amanda McKenzie April 28, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    I like the idea that happiness is the main point of many campaigns and brands. I think that today’s society is heavily focused on technology, self image, and brand names. so many companies use technology to promote their ads, like on Facebook or youtube, or other social media outlets. Many companies like dove or secret focus on a positive and healthy self image for women, since looks and presentation seem to be very important in this generation. And lastly, brand names play a huge role when deciding what products to purchase. I think ads like the ones above have all three of these components intertwined in their ads making it a strong and desired product. I also agree that brands like mcdonalds are sort of looked at in a negative way, so if they have commercials and ads showing them making people happy, it could be a good marketing strategy.


  10. Sam Ventresca April 28, 2015 / 2:45 pm

    The happiness idea is smart for brands to use in their advertising campaigns. However I find it ironic that Coke and McDonald’s would use this idea. They are two major corporations who produce products that are terrible for one’s health. The irony is the fact that both of these corporations only bring people temporary happiness and eventually destroy some peoples’ lives. Even though coke and McDonald’s are horrible for you it is smart of them to use the happiness to associate with their brand. However it’s unfortunate how well these campaigns work for Coke and McDonald’s.


  11. Mackenzie Kilmartin April 28, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    Like many, I firmly believe that happiness is a key contribution to consumer behavior. When businesses and companies are selling to customers, it is no secret that customer satisfaction ensures more business and overall success. Wholesalers, companies, and retail stores want happy shoppers and positive vibes in their business environment at all times. No brand names wants hate and dissatisfaction on their label, or their reputation for that matter. The #Makeithappy is both socially activating and spreads a lot of positiveness for brands, and a great example of social media marketing.


  12. William Cavalier April 28, 2015 / 3:23 pm

    Happiness is a huge factor in consumer behaviour, when companies are selling products and consumers are buying it is better to great customer satisfaction to ensure they are repeat buyers and spread the word of the companies products. I do not believe any company wants their products name or the companies name itself to be tarnished by bad reputation and an unhappy customer base. I like that McDonalds is trying to spread the idea of happiness and love with their customers but overall McDonalds is a company who has been known to mistreat their consumers with disgusting food and terrible health conditions. McDonalds is a comfort food but has unhealthy effects on people’s body.


  13. Paige Gilbert April 28, 2015 / 3:33 pm

    In todays society the happiness of consumers is essential. This is because there are many different variations of products and different brands to buy from, so if a customer is dissatisfied than they can go to a different brand and get the same service or product. So the #Makeithappy statement will spread positive vibes and result in hopefully more sales because the consumers will be more satisfied with he service. This is a good choice for McDonalds because they always have a bad rumor going around about them, so focusing on their customers happiness can let people focus on that factor instead of the gross food.


  14. Brendan Sullivan April 28, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    The happiness movement is a very effective marketing tool. I prefer to buy something that has a positive brand or image. I remember the McDonald’s commercials of pay with love. It was such a positive movement for them. They had a man call his mother and say I love you for a payment. I think a positive image like that can be very effective. ore customers will attend McDonald’s thinking they can get a free meal also.


  15. Domenica Fuller April 29, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    I also think this form of marketing is very effective. Ads that make people smile for a few minutes are definitely more attractive then brands that use negative campaigns or campaigns that are simply confusing to consumers. I also find that happy commercials are easy to remember and resonate with people so that when they see the product in the store they may crack a smile and be more likely to buy it.


  16. John Parrish April 29, 2015 / 5:45 pm

    It definitely seems to be a good marketing campaign to portray positive messages. No one wants to be purchase products where the company gives off a negative vibe. In Dove’s case it seems essential to have positive marketing messages since views on body image are very relevant in today’s age. Being a skin care and hygiene product they would want people to think that using their products will make them feel more comfortable in their bodies.


  17. Kyley Murphy April 30, 2015 / 3:17 pm

    I agree with everyone. I think happiness is a great way to get new customers. When someone buys a new product, they do not want a negative connotation with it, or to buy something that made them feel bad about themselves. But happiness isn’t the main reason why people are buying these products. I buy Dove soap and it’s not because I feel better about myself when I buy it, I buy it because it is a good product and I have never had any issues with it. Even if a product promoted happiness, if it isn’t a good product then no one would buy it.


  18. Zi Wang May 2, 2015 / 2:57 am

    Happiness is a kind of invisible feeling. Similarly, Brand is also a kind of intangible value. However, when combined with happiness and brand, the result is amazing. I agree with author’s idea and support the business activities of McDonalds, Dove and Coke. This a very low cost marketing way by using happiness to attract custiomers’ eyes.


  19. Andrew Dresner May 4, 2015 / 3:03 am

    It’s important for brands to somehow create a relationship with their consumers. If that means that they need to give something back to the consumers with hugs or a free meal, AKA McDonalds then they should do that. I don’t think people believe that brands can offer them somethings outside of their products. For this reason it is easy to see why this program that McDonalds ran was so successful.


  20. Nandish Patel May 7, 2015 / 10:04 pm

    Emotional marketing usually works in developing the brand name. McDonalds advertising has been always about family, whether its about children or teenager and the superbowl ad. about saying our loved ones “love you”. It was indeed a different idea which will help McDonalds to win its customers back. Also coke’s ad are normally about friendship and act of love or kindness which highly attracts the youngsters. So I totally agree with you that Happy Emotional Marketing increases the sales of a company.


  21. Eva Trinidad May 8, 2015 / 1:47 am

    I think that bringing happiness into the idea of advertising your product is great. Consumers like to see positive vibes in the products that they see in the market. I think that with this message companies are not only selling their products but also are showing consumers that they care about how they feel and about their needs.


  22. Megan Lac May 6, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    I think that happiness and positivity have a positive affect on people and how people see brands. I know that Aerie focuses on women being themselves and not touching up photos. This leads to inspiration for girls learning to accept themselves. This acceptance and happiness has proven to benefit Aerie in their sales and brand loyalty.


  23. Kevin Poulter May 7, 2016 / 1:53 am

    I think that associating happiness to advertisements is great for a companies. Its creates a positive image for your brand and puts a positive image of your brand as a whole. When you ad emotions to advertisement it leaves more impact and helps clearly get its point across.


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