My Advertising Secret: Ocytocin

Kevin Connor


Kevin Connor


It’s true. My sheer cuteness floods your brain with the love hormone, “Oxytocin” which makes even tough-minded CEOs stop for a second.

There are many studies that show the hormone oxytocin makes people more susceptible to advertising. But it not so nefarious as it sounds. Findings suggest that advertisements that employ animals — especially young or baby animals influence our  biological systems for trust and empathy. It goes for babies too.

Studies at Claremont College in California show that non-profit marketing that include animals or young children earn more donations to causes than more straightforward emotional appeals. Ads that generate oxytocin as a response to an ad reported that the advertisements made them feel more empathetic.

And they have taken this into the lab directly where participants were given a scent that contained either Oxytocin or placebo before watching a number of non-profit tv / video  commercials containing animals or infants.

The results were stark. Those who received oxytocin were significantly more inclined to get further information or donate directly. This should not surprise anyone. Cute puppies, silly voiceovers of animals and other general cuteness has been selling ideas and products since the RCA dog was selling radios (for those who recall where all of our smartphones came from).  And today, when you look at what videos get the most shares, you can always bank on “cute” to win over “clever.” Sometimes it’s just our built-in biological prewiring.

Maybe a dog or baby is right for you? If you think so, all we ask is “do it well.”


Cuteness and cuddliness create a real biological advantage. It is literally built into our brains. When you watch commercials and see babies, dogs and cartoon lizards, you are literally having your brain “tapped” at a fundamental level. To learn more about how we leverage emotion in branding and marketing, join us for a private workshop.

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