Appeals in Marketing Advertisements

Fear Appeals: They are aimed at creating dissonance in the minds of the target audience with respect to their current behavior pattern. So, the ceasefire commercial that shows a fire in the house and the housewife getting trapped and urging the men-folk that “ you could not be there to save her but ceasefire can� is one such message that aims to create dissonance and show how the customer can reduce it. Other examples are that of the close up, and Clearsil ads showing loss of friendship or association because of bad smell and pimples respectively. Fear can be instilled in the minds of the target audience if the market shows a loss of any or a combination of the following to- the target audience:

* Loss of property or physical belongings.
* Loss of the audience health.
* Loss of a more subtle but very meaningful socio-psychological motive, namely Friendship, love, association, job, status, esteem, etc.

An important consideration is how much fear should be used in the message. For, if too much fear is instilled, it may take away the target customer from the product or the source and if too less fear is used it may not create a sufficient level of dissonance in the customer’s mind that will motivate him or her to examine his or her current product beliefs. Extensive research has been done to assess the impact of fear appeals. One of the major and early reported research findings are moderate fear appeals are more effective in getting desired responses from consumer than the extreme or too low fear. According to them, too much fear creates a defensive reaction in customers. The customer may reject the appeal or selectively distort it. For example, a compulsive smoker seeing a person contracting Cancer and having a painful death, all because of smoking, may turn away and say to himself “It cannot happen to me,� or may come up with a rational that not all smokers get Cancer or, all those who do get Cancer are not smokers, etc. Thus, a marketer has to be cautious in using the right dosage of fear appeal.

Emotional Appeals: These are the messages that appeal to human beings’ emotions. Here, the concern is to relate emotions to ethos or the pathos. Appeals directed at ethos aim to focus attention of the target audience to the model or sources. For example, a house and all the belongings on fire and the owners grieving about it is a message that uses ethos. And the marketer says “Don’t let it happen to you. Insure with ….. Appeals using ethos are directed at generating at generating emotional responses like a pleasant mood, bolstering the ego or appealing to- the person’s fantasies dreams, wishes, etc, or evoking love and sympathy.

Consider the case of Vicks Vaporub that shows the child in agony as he is not to breath because of a cold, or another ad of the same product where the child sneezes, mother scolds and the child responds with flowers “happy Birthday Mummy� and the mother hugs and uses Vicks Vaporub to help her child get over the cold. In this ad, the focus is on the mother and child’s emotions and hence is directed at creating feelings of warmth and love and uses pathos.

Another emotion that marketers have lately been using is jealousy, so natural and part of average human behavior. Consider the advertisement of Onida TV the first to use it. Don’t Envy it, buy it’ is an example of jealousy being used.

Some other emotions appealed to are status and pride.

Rational Appeals: These are the appeals that are directed at the rational thinking and evaluation of the customer. Facts are presented in a convincing manner and benefits are known in buying marketers brands of products. Computer companies and automobile firms are users of this appeal.

Ethical Appeals: Lately the concern of the marketer has been to present the customer with the ethical or moral approach to a problem resolution. Statements like “if it is not fair to you, it is not to us too’, are used by sales people to present their package in an ethical manner to the customer.