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Designing Your Advertising Message, Page 3

3. Questions to Ask

What will be your best appeal? What is most likely to move your target audience off the couch and into your store or website?

Will it be a rational appeal backed up by statistical information, pros and cons needed for thorough research and a decision that is not made very quickly and only after much thought? If so, what techniques will you use? Statistics? Comparisons? Reports?

Or, will the appeal be emotional, aiming for a quick decision. If so, what is the best emotional appeal for your audience?

Here is the list of Maslowe's Hierarchy of Need (s that all of us respond to, followed by examples of advertising that appeals to those needs:

  1. Basic needs: food, water, shelter
        Food, bottled water, housing ads
  2. Safety - we need to feel safe.
        Insurance, prescription drugs, tires
  3. Belonging - love, peer approval, popularity
        Most beer commercials
  4. Self esteem - ego, status
        Luxury cars, King of Beers
  5. Self actualization - going as far as we can given our talent and ability
        US Army, Be All That You Can Be

NOTE: If we think basic needs and/or safety for us and our families are threatened, these needs will override all the other needs.

Think about which of these needs will appeal to your audience. Then think about which emotion you will use in the appeal.

Ads commonly use these emotions to motivate action:

  • Fear
  • Danger
  • Greed
  • Guilt
  • Love/emotional security
  • Popularity/belonging
  • Patriotism
  • Status
  • Ego
  • Independence
  • Immortality
  • Peer approval
  • Power
  • Roots

Note: Fear and guilt are among the most popular appeals!

Look at the ads major companies are using and ads that the competition is using. What are the most successful appeals? What appeal will be most effective for your product or service? Think about the power of certain words in appeals. For example, words like VIP, exclusive, only, one-of-a-kind all appeal to status and ego.

Following are a couple of examples of familiar appeals that work:

  • You deserve a break today - self esteem and ego
  • King of beers - status and ego
  • Got milk? (shows happy child) - basic needs and guilt

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