What Are Some Examples of Emotional Appeals in Advertising?

Examples of emotional appeals in advertising include ads designed to make people fear the consequences of their actions, such as being fined for not wearing a seat belt. Others encourage consumers to join the crowd, such as ads that highlight the popularity of a product.

Besides fear, advertising often appeals to the negative emotion of guilt, to natural responses to competition and humor, and to the positive emotions of trust, belonging and leadership. In ads that appeal to fear, the message is “Don’t let this happen to you.” Similarly, in ads that appeal to guilt, the message is “Don’t let this happen to someone else.”

Ads that stimulate competitive desire encourage consumers to purchase a product or service to keep up with their peers. Ads that use humor want consumers to make a positive association with the product and feel that using the product is fun or enjoyable. Organizations that provide financial, health or other essential services use messages that inspire trust. Ads that show groups of similar people, such as families at a restaurant, appeal to a sense of belonging, provoking consumers to purchase a product so they become part of a desirable group. In contrast, ads that show people or products on their own in isolated settings appeal to consumers’ desires for leadership.