Online gaming social media and our loss of empathy

An interesting topic came to my attention that is incredibly important for many successful advertising campaigns – Emotion.  The topic of discussion came to my attention through a youtube video, Online Gaming Social Media and our Loss of Empathy.”  It was broadcast by the University of California Television.  After watching the short video, it made me question – How will advertisers grab and maintain their audiences attention if their is less or a loss of empathy?  Watch the short UCTV video below to find out more.

At the beginning of the UCTV video, Dr. Andrew Doan, describes empathy as a learned human responce through face to face interaction.  Empathy is typically not a word I use often, so immediately I had to look up a clear definition.  According to Collins dictionary, “Empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and emotions as if they were your own.”  The first thought I had was, this definition essentially describes some of the most effective and memorable advertisements I have seen.  Below are two advertising examples that immediately come to mind which rely heavily on empathy.

Smoking Kid – Thailand

 Cinema Ad: Texting While Driving – VW – Hong Kong

Online gaming social media and our loss of empathyIn aircraft accident investigating, one thing is certain, an accident is usually multiple situations that came together at the same time, leading to the final result.  Aircraft accidents are very rarely caused by one thing, it’s usually always multiple contributing factors.  Dr. Andrew Doan suggests social media and gaming are the causes of losing empathy.  Granted, social media and gaming are huge with young children today.  (If in doubt, look at re: gaming)  I’m suggesting there are likely more contributing factors than social media and gaming alone, but that’s not what this article is about.  It is about the question the video had me asking – How would an advertiser communicate to an audience lacking empathy?

If there is less of or a lack of empathy with younger people today, will the sort of advertisement examples shown above be as effective?  I am not sure?  Naturally advertising styles will continue to evolve over time, that is a given.  How would you tackle effective advertising if your audience lacked empathy?  I actually do not have an answer.  As I gain more advertising experience, I may be able to better answer that very question in the future.  For now, I am not actually sure?

Thank you to the University of California Television for triggering the thought process which has led me to ponder over that very question for several hours.

Ashley Wincer

An Indianapolis based Australian working towards building flight time to meet the US ATP requirements. Currently works full time as a contractor for multiple Part 121 US Airlines. Previously has worked as a US Flight Dispatcher, Ramp Agent and Operations Ramp Controller.


  1. Wonderful, excellent article Ashley, & great question. Advertising really is, & reflects as a product of its time, doesn’t it?

  2. Thank you Ann. I think your right, advertising is a product of its time.

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