Positivity has firmly embedded itself in popular culture, with numerous social media accounts sharing content that evokes "warm, genuine feelings" in people. For example, JunsKitchen, a content creator who specializes in cooking with his cats, boasts 5.3 million subscribers.
Why Do Viewers Crave Positive Content?
Amidst global developments in politics, ecology, and economics, focusing on small, uplifting things can make a significant difference. According to a recent international study by Kantar, even in the face of worldwide economic uncertainty, seven out of ten people claim they try to stay optimistic.
Earnest Pettie, a YouTube expert on culture and trends, states, "People are seeking content that encourages self-care and helps regulate their moods."
Nancy Puccinelli, a marketing professor at Bath University and an Oxford University faculty member, explains that this effort to regulate moods serves as a form of escapism for many. She says, "I follow the most important news. Despite how gloomy it can be, I force myself to look at it because we need to know. But often, when I'm trying to relax in the evenings, I find myself captivated by light content like reusing coffee grounds as fertilizer or a Google feed announcing a new restaurant opening nearby. They may not be 'important,' but they make me feel good."
Amitav Chakravarti, a marketing professor at the London School of Economics, adds, "When people connect with positive content, they tend to feel calmer, more relaxed, and even more generous and altruistic."
The Chemical Response to Positive Content
While watching uplifting content, the body begins to release dopamine, the chemical responsible for feelings of pleasure, motivation, and satisfaction. Since dopamine also plays a role in memory, sleep, and concentration, people are naturally inclined to seek positive experiences.
Chakravarti, a specialist in consumer psychology, suggests that the interest in positive content may stem from a desire to connect with others. Positive content often satisfies this desire by fostering connections among people.
Brands Leveraging Positive Content
Brands are incorporating positive content into their marketing campaigns to connect with the new generation of consumers who find it appealing, especially among Generation Z. According to a 2022 Ipsos survey, Generation Z enjoys watching relaxing video content, including ASMR, live animal streams, and nostalgic videos.
Furthermore, positive content can be an effective way to market functional products. The UK-based bank Halifax recently launched a campaign featuring images of families living in the area to promote their financial products and services. The ad focuses on positive connections among people and daily activities.
How Marketers Can Use Positive Content in Marketing Campaigns
Marketers can use certain elements to infuse their content with positivity, similar to content creators. However, the storytelling should be straightforward. Chakravarti suggests, "Simple, unexpected, and emotional elements often leave a lasting impression in people's memories, more so than humor."
Puccinelli notes, "In most memorable advertisements, people often can't remember what the product was. Good advertisements don't just try to sell a product."
Pettie adds that personal stories or narratives showing someone helping another person (or an animal) tend to captivate viewers. "Narratives that touch viewers' emotions often have an element of altruism. For example, MrBeast's content, which includes acts of kindness, plays a significant role in the channel's popularity."
Another crucial aspect is the aesthetics of the content. Pettie mentions, "Positive content doesn't necessarily need a clear narrative. We want content that's deeply satisfying, like videos of people deep-cleaning objects or showcasing a simpler life close to nature. This escapism is incredibly gratifying."
To sum up, relaxing content helps people make sense of the uncertainty around them and allows them to escape or divert their attention from stressors in their lives or the world in general. Therefore, marketers can use positive and comforting content for their campaigns to attract more attention.