Persuasive technique in advertising
Persuasive technique in advertising.
Think about the advertisements you have seen or heard lately. It may have been an advertisement over the radio persuading you to come out to an event. Maybe it was an infomercial pulling out all the stops to make you buy the product. Or, it could have been as simple as a billboard. What spoke to you? What persuaded you to that yes? Companies have spent millions of dollars researching and implementing this into their marketing plan. Here are some techniques you may have seen.
First and foremost, testimonials spent volumes. “I so enjoyed using this hair dryer. It was quick, easy and got me out the door to work on time,” says Jane Doe. You hear them all the time. You question if they are actors or real-life testaments to the product. In most cases, companies are researching their sales records to find out who their customers are and what they buy. They may already know Jane Doe lives in Albuquerque, has three children and works the graveyard shift. But her testimonial could sway more people to buy their product.
Another persuasive technique is the scare tactic. “If you don’t buy my product to patch your tire, you could end up stranded on a dark road with no way to change a flat!” a person on an infomercial may insist. Don’t let them scare you. Trust yourself! If you know how to change a tire or ninety percent of the time you’re with someone that does, then why do you need their product? Before you buy anything—and I really do mean anything—question if the brand is using this technique. It’s a huge turn-off for me and I would never buy from that company.
Companies may also try to appeal to your emotion. For instance, what do you think when you see an image of people smiling and drinking Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Of course, you want to smile and be that person too! The company is appealing to your positive emotions. Essentially, they are saying: buy our product and it will improve your life. Now let’s flip it. What if the same people in the ad were grumpy or angry? What if they just didn’t care about the product or an advertisement showed them throwing in the trash…or on the ground? This obviously appeals to your negative emotions which companies know wouldn’t drive sales. That’s exactly why you don’t see this advertisement.
A company may also use ethos to persuade you. Ethos is a persuasive technique that allows companies to persuade to credibility or character. Essentially, the company wants you (the consumer) to understand that they (the company) are honest and reliable. Lately, I think it’s Crest that has had the toothpaste commercial. They have actors trying the toothpaste and then they say: Nine out of ten dentists recommend this product. Additionally, there may be a celebrity that endorses the product. Ellen Degeneres endorses Covergirl, for instance, while Betty White is the celebrity endorsement for Snickers.
Slogans may be another persuasive technique, What do you think when you hear Nike’s “Just do it” slogan? Or Apple’s slogan: Think different. They’re both catchy and, quite honestly—they get you to do something. Nike, a shoe company, I believe is trying to encourage others to enjoy the outdoors. Just do it can mean so many things. Struggle with exercise? Just do it. Want to go dirt biking? Just do it. You get the point. Apple’s slogan, too, is much like the slogan of Nike. It essentially tells us to think out the box. But, then again, “think outside the box” isn’t as catchy as “think different”…is it? When you hear a slogan, think of it as a call to action you would see in a blog post. The company is encouraging you to buy their products or challenging you to live your life in a better way which you never thought possible.
Finally, businesses persuade customers to buy products by using colorful characters. Think of the bee on the advertisements for Honeynut Cheerios, or the leprechaun on the ads for Lucky Charms. The bunny draws in customers on the Fruit Loops ads, while Ronald McDonald often appears in advertisements for McDonald’s. It’s not difficult to fall in love with these characters; most of us have seen them since our childhood. But their purpose on screen is much more concrete than getting a laugh. They are there to make you buy their product. If Ronald McDonald didn’t sell any burgers, he would be stripped of his job and on the unemployment line.
A persuasive technique is not always obvious to the consumer, but these are the most commonly used techniques. So now you can’t be fooled into buying products when the next advertisement comes on television or the radio; you’ll be wise to their methods.