Article by Rebecca Horan, Entrepreneur

As anyone with even a passing familiarity with car commercials knows, major advertisers play heavily on emotion. Take the Subaru Forester commercial released earlier this month. While the key product takeaways are that the Forester is roomy, trustworthy and long-lasting, the ad doesn’t waste much time getting into specifics.

Instead, it takes us on a journey: We’re led by the family dog through scenes of a family’s special moments over the years. What does the commercial’s imagery have to do with automobile features? Not much. What does it have to do with our purchasing habits? Everything.

As consumers, we’ve come to expect that advertising will play to our emotions — but advertisers aren’t doing this only to be noticed or remembered among an endless sea of ads. They’re doing this because emotion is a key driver of decision-making. In fact, most of our decisions as consumers come down to more than just product features or price.

There’s scientific evidence behind that statement: Research conducted by Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman demonstrated that up to 95 percent of purchasing decisions may be formed in the subconscious mind. This is the part of the brain where logic takes a back seat and emotion grabs the wheel.

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