How to make your advertising appeal to consumers

What is an Advertising Appeal?

An advertising appeal refers to the approach used to attract the attention of consumers and/or to influence their feelings toward the product, service, or cause. It's something that moves people, speaks to their wants or need, and excites their interest. Often it is the underlying content of the advertisement; think of it as a “movie script”. Don’t confuse this with executional framework, that will be another topic.

Deciding on an Advertising Appeal

When y'all are deciding on a direction for your submissions, review the Creative Brief (specifically objectives section) for tone, the nature of the product, the preferences of the client (very important). Most importantly though, use your common sense and gut feelings. There are two major types of appeals. They are:


Emotional Appeal

This relates to the customers’ social and/or psychological needs for purchasing a product or service. This appeal is so effective because many consumers’ motives for purchase decisions are emotional. Many advertisers believe an emotional appeal to work better at selling brands that do not differ markedly from competing brands. Witin the emotional appeal, there are two subsets - the personal and the social. These are made up of:

Personal -

Safety, Security, Fear, Love, Affection, Humor, Happiness, Joy, Nostalgia, Sentiment, Excitement, Arousal/stimulation, Sorrow/grief, Pride, Achievement/accomplishment, Self-esteem, Actualization, Pleasure, Ambition, Comfort

Social -

Recognition, Status, Respect, Involvement, Embarrassment, Affiliation/belonging, Rejection, Acceptance, Approval

So, a little more detail on some of the important Personal Appeals...

Fear Appeal

Increases viewer interest in the ad and the persuasiveness of the ad.
Used with health and beauty products, idea marketing, insurance.
Most experts believe that a moderate level of fear is most effective.

Humor Appeal

Used in 30% of all advertisements.
Excellent at capturing attention.
Score high in recall tests.
Should be related directly to customer benefit. Or else, the joke can overpower the message.

Sex Appeal

Subliminal techniques
Nudity or partial nudity
Sexual suggestiveness
Overt sexuality

Are Sex Appeals Effective?

Research Results -

Sex and nudity do increase attention.
Rated as being more interesting.
Often leads to strong feelings about the advertisement.
Brand recall is lower.
Often interferes with message comprehension

Using Sex Appeals Effectively

Be aware of differences in the international arena.
Should be an integral part of the product.
Should utilize a variety of models in terms of age, size, ethnicity and gender.
Should consider using “regular person” models.
Be careful sex does not overpower advertisement.
Consider shifting to more sensuality.

Music Appeals

Has intrusive value.
Gains attention and increases the retention of visual information.
Can increase persuasiveness of an advertisement.

Design Questions -

What role will music play?
Will a familiar song be used or new song created?
What emotional feeling should song solicit?
How does the music fit with the message of the ad?

Tunes and Taglines

See if you can think of the tune that matches each of the following taglines:

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.
Feel like a woman (Revlon).
Come see the softer side of Sears.
The ABC News theme (also used in commercials for the news).
I am stuck on Band Aid, cause Band Aid is stuck on me.

Scarcity Appeals

Based on limited supply or
Based on limited time to purchase.
Often tied with promotion tools such as contests, sweepstakes and coupons.
Encourages customers to take action.

Rational Appeals

Focus on the consumer’s practical, functional, or utilitarian need for the product or service and emphasize features of a product or service and/or benefits or reasons for owning or using a particular brand
Print media is well-suited for rational appeals.
Used by business-to-business advertisers.
Well-suited for complex and high involvement products.

Consumer purchase decisions are often made on the basis of both emotional and rational motives, and attention must be given to both elements in developing effective advertising.

In the next post, I'll talk about Creative Execution, the way a particular appeal is turned into an advertising message presented to the consumer.

Nick DeJesus | Chief Growthologist | TopCreatives | | 212-686-6052


ivan's picture

Thanks Nick! It seems like a great way to organize the different strategies one can take.

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just stop talking

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TRICKY's picture
Activity Score 3954

we want more..... we want more ....

Tinna's picture

Thank you ...

ranjeet's picture

want some more articles .....

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this is amazing

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Its fine

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we wantsome more info about how tv commercials influece us

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In your opinion does a call to action work? eg: Buy one today?

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nice!!!really helpful!!!

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really good!!! Many Thanks!!

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it helped me a lot

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Its v nice

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Thanks i think it is enough for me and me really happy to c this thanks
yousaf khan pakistan

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thanks a lot, i learn more about Tv ADS

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dudue u saved me & mu presentation thanks a lot man

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thanksa lot dude 4 such beneficial informations.. u can do one more thing..give examples of each advertisementwith asuitable advertisement video...

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Zabar Dast GI!!!Chaa GAay Ho Tussi!!!! I mean wonderful dude !!!U r amazing

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thanks man very useful information..

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this makes big cashmunis

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Great, love it!!!!!

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Thanks, Love It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Manfred's picture
Activity Score 4

Great post Nick.
I was looking for creative execution post, it would be great to understand your approach on that subject.