Unruly / viral review / Proud Americans And Gloomy Brits – 5 Emotional Insights From 2016

Proud Americans And Gloomy Brits – 5 Emotional Insights From 2016

Political disruption, sporting glory and record-breaking weather – 2016 certainly had its fair share of ups and downs. 

But while many news outlets have written off 2016 as the worst in living memory, just what was the mood among consumers?

Were people in the UK happier than they were in 2015? Just how did Americans feel about the US Election? Were people around the world really sadder than they were the previous year? Well, using our analytics engine, Unruly Pulse, we can find out.

The new tool provides unique insight into the emotional trends of video advertising over time, using data from self-reported surveys and biometric and neurological testing.

So we looked at most prevalent emotions of the year vs 2015 in the US, UK and globally and pulled out 5 key insights for you to gawp and furrow your brows at.



1. There was a little less warmth around the planet

2016 saw a big drop-off in Warmth and Nostalgia globally (-11% and -15%). But, most surprisingly, Exhilaration fell 17% worldwide. This was definitely unexpected considering the excitement of the summer, from the Rio Olympics to the UEFA European Championships.


2. US exhilarated by golden Olympic performance

However, in the US the number of respondents who felt Exhilaration actually increased by 17%, indicating that advertisers were tuning into Team USA’s winning spirit during the Rio Olympics. There were a number of ads from American brands that capitalised on this – including dramatic spots from Under Armour and Nike.


3. Inspiration, amazement and happiness also soared among Americans

Audiences in the USA also felt more Inspired, Amazed and Happy after watching video ads than they did in 2015 – with increases of 28%, 17% and 23% respectively.


4. 2016 was a proud year for many

The biggest change came in the number of people who felt Pride after watching a video ad in 2016, with 50% more respondents reporting the emotion than the previous year.

The Rio Olympics played a big part in this, thanks to powerful spots such as P&G’s ‘Thank You, Mom’, while the Presidential race no doubt influenced audiences too – with plenty of patriotic election ads.


5. But Brits left a little sad

In the UK things seemed a little less positive, with audiences reporting a drop in all positive emotions compared to 2015. In fact, the only emotional response which increased in 2016 was sadness! The biggest drops were seen in Amazement and Nostalgia, both of which fell 12%, indicating that advertisers chose to focus on more relevant emotions last year.


As part of our analysis of 2016, we’re very excited to introduce the Unruly Video Awards (#TheUnrulies for short)! #TheUnrulies are powered by Unruly EQ and Unruly Analytics and are based on sharing data aggregated from across the social web over the past year – so they are truly chosen by the people and emotional science!

The awards are a celebration of all the video ads that moved the world in 2016, and will take place on Twitter at 4 pm GMT / 11 am EST on January 10th.

See more details and the full list of finalists here.