Mass media campaigns are a commonly used and often effective public health strategy. However, it is unknown how health messages about sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), widely accepted and advertised products, will be perceived by teen audiences. This study investigated the direct and mediated effects of emotional appeals in beverage-related public service advertisements (PSAs) that aired between 2010 and 2012 on adolescents’ intention to reduce their SSB consumption. An online randomized experiment was conducted with a national sample of adolescent respondents ages 13 to 17 to test the effect of three emotional persuasive appeals – humor, fear, and nurturance. The experiment randomly assigned participants to one of three experimental conditions, representing PSAs with different emotional appeals, or a control group. Either directly or indirectly, humor, fear, and nurturance appeals were each associated with an increased intention to cut back on sugary drinks. Perceived argument strength, one of the mediators measured, was a key predictor of intention and was influenced by all three types of PSAs, most strongly by fear and nurturance appeals.