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Heart-Marketing: How 4 Companies Succeeded by Inspiring Others


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3 min read

heart marketing The best marketing appeals to the emotions of the audience: it must be inspirational and heart-warming. This is Heart Marketing. Instead of a hard sell focused on product benefits, the best marketing makes you want to be a part of something bigger, be a part of the movement.

Let’s look at four examples of Heart Marketing that makes you stop and think, feel better about the world you live in, that makes you want to share the experience with others.

1. TOMS Giving in the U.S.: Helping American Children In Need

Many people are already aware of TOMS shoes One For One pledge to donate a pair of shoes (or eye glasses) for every one purchased, but they may not be aware that TOMS’ new campaign aims to help children living in the USA. TOMS is expanding its mission in its own home country to help disadvantaged children stay in school, take part in physical activities and build self-esteem by donating one million pairs of shoes across 35 states by the end of 2014. The campaign also aims to provide the gift of sight to children across three states.

The video is an inspiring piece of marketing: TOMS relies on its shoe and glasses sales to fulfill the charitable aims of the company, but still needs to appeal to consumers. The video manages to showcase the TOMS designs while also showing the inspirational effect of helping children close to home achieve their dreams.

The video has already been watched nearly 4 million times, helping to drive the message and help TOMS reach its goal of giving one million pairs of shoes to disadvantaged children. This is not just about charity: TOMS is a profit-making company, but the company is showing customers the effect of the right choices by making them a part of the movement.

2. Google Earth: Homeward Bound

Saroo Brierley’s story of how he found his lost family with the aid of Google Earth from halfway around the world is enough to give you goose bumps. Separated from his family in India when he was only five years old when he fell asleep on a train, Saroo was adopted out to a family in Australia and grew up with only a few details of his early childhood in his memory.

Then he was inspired by Google Maps and Google Earth to retrace his train journey and piece together his memories by landmarks to locate the street of his former home. He traveled thousands of miles to India with just these few clues, but when he retraced his steps he found not only his old house, but his entire family, living just yards from where he was born. He was reunited with his mother and siblings – a story you could make a Hollywood movie out of, and all the more poignant because it is true.

This heart-warming story has been viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube and breathes life into a desktop application by showing how some of the technology tools we now take for granted can be used to change lives and reunite families.

3. Brastemp: Smile

Brazilian whitegoods manufacturer, Brastemp, wanted to draw attention to their new slogan, “Inspiration changes everything. And life becomes just like a Brastemp” so they recruited eleven Sao Paulo radio stations to help them bring this message into people’s everyday lives one day during the morning commute (which can be long).

The radio stations ran a simultaneous campaign to ask people to smile at the person in the car next to them during the morning commute and bring a little happiness and inspiration to their day: “Right now, millions of people at their cars, listening to the radio: all serious, sleepy, until an inspiration changes everything. We invite you to smile to the driver next to you. If he heard it, he’ll smile back …. See? Inspiration changes everything and life becomes just like… a Brastemp.”

The commercial that captured this moment has been seen over 2.5 million times since 2010 and remains one of my personal favorite marketing campaigns of all time.

4. Tourism Queensland: The Best Job in the World

Many campaigns claim they will change your life, but when Tourism Queensland used their $1.2 million marketing budget to promote “The Best Job in the World”, they really weren’t exaggerating. The Tourism board knew their money wouldn’t stretch far, so rather than try to market the Great Barrier Reef as a destination in a traditional way, they opted to advertise an island caretaker position where the daily chores included snorkeling, feeding fish, and blogging about the experience—and all for a salary of $75,000 for the six-month position.

The response was impressive. Media outlets from all over the world picked up on the unique story, which helped amplify the campaign and earned them an estimated $368 million in media coverage, reaching a global audience of three billion. Tourism Queensland received 35,000 applicants that were eventually narrowed down to a shortlist, then to one winner from the U.K.

You know that you’ve created a true Heart Marketing campaign when people share it without you asking them to do so. And that is because they want to be inspired and to inspire others.

Originally published Jan 12, 2015, updated Aug 12, 2020

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