What Are the Tools of Persuasion in Advertising?
Advertising is a communication strategy designed to convince consumers to buy a company’s products. Persuasive communication involves getting attention, generating interest, creating a desire for change and encouraging action. Advertising is important for driving revenue and profit growth. Small businesses can use persuasive advertising in one-on-one settings and through traditional media channels, including print, television and the Internet.
The repeated use of phrases and images can help people remember the advertising messages and even accept them as truthful. For example, a technology company could reinforce the message of productivity in its commercials and a retailer could emphasize that its products provide the best value. Catchy slogans are also useful because they can be easily incorporated into short commercials and Internet banner ads.
The repetition-break tool consists of two or three repetitive sequences followed by a break or a deviating event that is different from the other sequences. For example, a pharmaceutical ad could show repetitive sequences of virile men and women in different settings followed by a graphic of the drug. The repetition creates an expectation of what is to come and the break comes as a surprise, which captures attention and generates interest. At the annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Jeffrey Loewenstein and colleagues cited research experiments showing that television advertisements using the repetition-break tool are persuasive and lead to higher purchase intentions than other forms of advertising.
If done properly, humor is an effective persuasive tool. Ambiguity, puns and comedic situations can make an ad memorable. People tend to remember things that make them smile, possibly leading to a purchase decision. For example, people are likely to remember a soft drink ad that has sketches of adorable polar bears drinking soft drinks while sliding down a mountain. Humor is one part of advertising messages, which usually include substantive messages, such as social acceptance, old-age security and family relationships.
Shock advertising aims to grab the attention of the audience. Jarring images and shocking text may also generate free media coverage, increasing the effectiveness of the advertising campaign. Public awareness ads against smoking and drugs often use shocking images to convey important health and safety messages. However, shocks tend to lose value through repeated exposure because viewers may start ignoring the ads altogether.
Other persuasive advertising tools include romantic imagery, music, stereotypes and celebrity endorsements. Product placements in favorite television programs and movies may also have a persuasive effect.