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This article explores the way in which advertising builds brand relationships. Behavioral research by Watzlawick, Bavelas, and Jackson (1967) suggests it is the emotional not the rational content in communication that drives relationships. This assertion is tested using a new research copy-testing system—the CEP™Test—and the results confirm that favorability toward brands is strongly correlated with emotional content in advertising, but not with factual content. However, learning from psychology indicates that high attention weakens the effect of emotional content, so the implications are that advertising aimed at building strong brand relationships might be more effective if processed at lower levels of attention.
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