Appeals are used to attract interest of potential and actual consumers to a product. There is hardly any advertisement without some form of appeal to the audience exposed to that advert. Appeals are like magnets which target the needs of the audience directly. Anyone writing an advert copy needs to understand what an advert appeal is and how to apply in in creative copy writing. So what is the meaning of appeal in advertising?
What is Advertising Appeal?
Advertising appeals are approaches used to attract attention and interest of audience members to an advert message, stirring their desire for the product advertised. They are devises used by advertisers to ensure that advert messages attract and sustain the interest of the audience with the basic purpose of activating an exchange process. Ambekar (2009) says advertising appeals aim to influence the way consumers view themselves and how buying certain products can prove to be beneficial for them. Patidar (2012) writes that advertising appeal is an igniting force which stimulates the customer’s mind-set towards the product or services. Patidar further says appeal is not the only factor in the marketing mix which initiates a consumer’s decision to buy the product but that one of the advertisers’ most important creative strategy decisions involves the choice of an appropriate appeal.
Bittner (1989, p.222) sees advertising appeal as the basic message behind an advert following which he observes that for consumers of mass communication, “understanding advertising means understanding the different appeals used in advertising messages.” Bittner further gives two broad categories of the most common advertising appeals as value appeals and basic needs appeals. Value appeals include aesthetics (beauty and grace), humanitarian appeal (love and respect for people), intellectual appeal (love and respect for knowledge), prestigious and religious appeals. Basic needs appeals include food, shelter and sex appeals.
Types of Advertising Appeals
A review of the basic types of advertising by various scholars shows that appeals used by advertising agencies and companies fall under the three basic categories, as recorded by Patidar (2012): i). Rational or Informational Appeals, ii). Emotional Appeals, and iii). Moral Appeals.
Rational or informational appeals
These appeals emphasize the functional benefits of a product such as quality, economy, value, or performance. Different types of rational appeals include Feature Appeal (highlights product attributes); Competitive Advantage Appeal (used by an advertiser to compare and present his product as superior to a competing brand); Favourable Price Appeal (where price offer is highlighted as the dominant point of the message); News Appeal (Some type of news or announcements about product or company dominates the advertisement); Product Popularity Appeal (highlights increasing number of users of brand or the number who have switched to it); High Quality appeal (highlights the quality attribute of a product in advertisement); Low price appeal (highlights the low price tag of the product); Long Life appeal (highlights durability of a product); Performance appeal (exhibits good performance of product); Economy appeal (highlights what consumers will save by using the product, for example in the case of automobile the mileage is considered while selecting the brand or model); Scarcity appeal (urges consumers to buy a particular product because of a limited number available).
These appeals work on an individual’s psychological and social needs for purchasing certain products and services. Some emotional appeals include Positive Emotional Appeal (humour, love, care, pride, or joy shown in advertisements to appeal to the audience to buy a product); Negative Emotional Appeal (fear, guilt, and shame highlighted to get people to do things they should do or stop what they are doing which is not right); Fear Appeal ( used to evoke an emotional response and arouse consumers to take steps to remove the threat); Anxiety Appeal (related to fear appeal, it is used to make consumers avoid feeling anxious. For instance, to relieve anxiety, consumers might buy mouthwash, deodorant, a safer car, or get retirement pension plan). Humour Appeal (Humour causes the consumer to watch an advertisement, laugh while doing so, and most importantly, remember the advertisement and the product connected with humour). Ambekar, (2009) adds two other appeals to emotional appeals. They are Personal Appeal (highlighting some personal emotions that can drive individuals to purchase products such as safety, fear, love, humor, joy, happiness, sentiment, stimulation, pride, self esteem, pleasure, comfort, ambition, nostalgia etc.); Social Appeal (highlighting social factors which elicit purchasing decision from consumers; they include such factors as recognition, respect, involvement, affiliation, rejection, acceptance, status and approval).
Basically used to encourage people to support social and ethical causes, moral appeals target the consumers’ sense of what is right and proper. These are often used to exhort. They include Social awakening and justice, Cleaner and safe environment; Equal rights for women; Prohibition of drugs and intoxication; Adult literacy; Anti-smuggling and hoarding; Protection of consumer rights and awakening.
Several appeals which have been formulated by advertising scholars cannot be exhausted here. The basic ones have been mentioned. Some other appeals listed by scholars are as follows (Ambekar, 2009; Patidar, 2012): Adventure Appeal (gives the impression that buying a product will change the individual’s life radically and fill it with fun, adventure and actiion); Less-Than-Perfect-Appeal (used to elicit purchasing decision by making people feel less perfect and more dissatisfied with their present condition; often used in cosmetic and health industries); Bandwagon Appeal (emphasizes that since everybody is doing something you should be a part of the crowd as well); Statistics appeal (uses statistics and figures to display aspects of a product and its popularity in particular); Masculine-Feminine Appeal (aims at creating the impression of the perfect person by highlighting that the product will infuse the perfection or the stated qualities in the consumer); Music Appeal (used as a strategy of increasing the persuasiveness of the advertisement, capture attention and increase customer recall); Sex Appeal (This is the use of sexuality, sexual suggestiveness, over sexuality or sensuality to raise curiosity of the audience and thereby creating strong feelings about the advertisement. If not well used, this can interfere with advert message and product purpose, and can also cause low brand recall); Reminder Appeal (Advertising using reminder appeal has the objective of building brand awareness).
(Source: Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Ecology in the Digital Age – second edition, 2021; written by Nwabueze, C.)