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Media: Advertising & The Art of Persuasion

A great introduction to a media unit--ENG1D1

Lisa Broe

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Media: Advertising & The Art of Persuasion

Media: Advertising & The Art of Persuasion Advertisers spend BILLIONS of
dollars each year to persuade consumers
to buy their products
and services. What exactly is persuasion? Persuasion can be defined as "...a symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people to change their attitudes or behaviours regarding an issue through the transmission of a message in an atmosphere of free choice.“ The key elements of this definition of persuasion are that: Persuasion is symbolic, utilizing words, images, sounds, etc.
It involves a deliberate attempt to influence others.
Self-persuasion is key. People are not bullied or forced; they are instead free to choose.
Methods of communicating persuasive messages can occur in a variety of ways, including verbally and non-verbally via television, radio, Internet, or face-to-face communication. When is persuasion used? Advertising
And more… Why is MEDIA part of the English curriculum?

The ability to look at media with a critical eye is an important life skill. It fits in the English curriculum because the skills used to analyse media are the same as looking at literature with a critical eye. Where is MEDIA found?
internet (Facebook, websites, etc.)
bus shelters
shopping bags
bathroom stalls The following techniques are used to persuade. They are used primarily, but not exclusively by advertisers:
Beautiful people
Plain folks
Warm and fuzzy Association Bandwagon Beautiful People Bribery This persuasion technique tries to link a product, service, or idea with something already liked by the target audience, such as fun, pleasure, beauty, security, intimacy, success, wealth, etc.

Association can be a very powerful technique. A good ad can create a strong emotional response and then associate that feeling with a brand (family = Coke, victory = Nike). This process is known as emotional transfer. Several of the persuasion techniques below, like Beautiful people, Warm & fuzzy, Symbols, and Nostalgia, are specific types of association. Many ads show lots of people using the product, implying that "everyone is doing it" (or at least, "all the cool people are doing it"). No one likes to be left out or left behind, and these ads urge us to "jump on the bandwagon.” Beautiful people uses good-looking models (who may also be celebrities) to attract our attention. This technique is extremely common in ads, which may also imply (but never promise!) that we’ll look like the models if we use the product. This technique tries to persuade us to buy a product by promising to give us something else, like a discount, a rebate, a coupon, or a "free gift.”

Sales, special offers, contests, and sweepstakes are all forms of bribery. Unfortunately, we don’t really get something for free -- part of the sales price covers the cost of the bribe. Media messages often show people testifying about the value or quality of a product, or endorsing an idea. They can be experts, celebrities, or plain folks. We tend to believe them because they appear to be a neutral third party (a pop star, for example, not the lipstick maker, or a community member instead of the politician running for office.)

This technique works best when it seems like the person “testifying” is doing so because they genuinely like the product or agree with the idea. Some testimonials may be less effective when we recognize that the person is getting paid to endorse the product. Testimonials/Endorsement Celebrities (A type of Testimonial – the opposite of Plain folks.) We tend to pay attention to famous people. That’s why they’re famous! Ads often use celebrities to grab our attention. By appearing in an ad, celebrities implicitly endorse a product; sometimes the endorsement is explicit.

Many people know that companies pay celebrities a lot of money to appear in their ads (Nike’s huge contracts with leading athletes, for example, are well known) but this type of testimonial still seems to be effective. Experts (A type of Testimonial.) We rely on experts to advise us about things that we don’t know ourselves. Scientists, doctors, professors and other professionals often appear in ads and advocacy messages, lending their credibility to the product, service, or idea being sold.

Sometimes, Plain Folks can also be experts, as when a mother endorses a brand of baby powder or a construction worker endorses a treatment for sore muscles. Fear Humour Many ads use humour because it grabs our attention and it’s a powerful persuasion technique. When we laugh, we feel good. Advertisers make us laugh and then show us their product or logo because they’re trying to connect that good feeling to their product. They hope that when we see their product in a store, we’ll subtly re-experience that good feeling and select their product. Maybe/Generalizations Unproven, exaggerated or outrageous claims are commonly preceded by “weasel words” such as: may, might, can, could, some, many, often, virtually, as many as, or up to. Watch for these words if an offer seems too good to be true. Commonly, the Intensity and Maybe techniques are used together, making the whole thing meaningless. Plain Folks (A type of Testimonial – the opposite of Celebrities.) This technique works because we may believe a "regular person" more than an intellectual or a highly-paid celebrity.

It’s often used to sell everyday products like laundry detergent because we can more easily see ourselves using the product, too.

The plain folks technique strengthens the down-home, "authentic" image of products like pickup trucks and politicians. Unfortunately, most of the "plain folks" in ads are actually paid actors carefully selected because they look like "regular people.” Repetition Advertisers use repetition in two ways: Within an ad or advocacy message, words, sounds or images may be repeated to reinforce the main point. And the message itself (a TV commercial, a billboard, a website banner ad) may be displayed many times. Even unpleasant ads and political slogans work if they are repeated enough to pound their message into our minds. Warm & Fuzzy This technique uses sentimental images (especially of families, kids and animals) to stimulate feelings of pleasure, comfort, and delight.

It may also include the use of soothing music, pleasant voices, and evocative words like "cozy" or "cuddly.”

The Warm & fuzzy technique is another form of Association. It works well with some audiences, but not with others, who may find it too corny. This is the opposite of the Association technique. It uses something disliked or feared by the intended audience (like bad breath, failure, high taxes, or terrorism) to promote a "solution.”

Ads use fear to sell us products that claim to prevent or fix the problem. Politicians and advocacy groups stoke our fears to get elected or to gain support. Target Audience A target audience, or target group is the primary group of people that is seen as the potential buyers of the advertised product or service.

A target audience can be people of a certain age group, gender, marital status, etc.

Discovering the appropriate target audience is one of the most important stages involved with market research. Intensity The language of ads is full of intensifiers, including superlatives (greatest, best, most, fastest, lowest prices), comparatives (more, better than, improved, increased, fewer calories), hyperbole (amazing, incredible, forever), exaggeration, and many other ways to hype the product. What role does Media play in our Culture? information source
provides entertainment (movies, magazines, television, etc.)
global awareness
educational source
shapes our knowledge and opinions
advertisement What does it mean to persuade? convince influence inspire sway argue manipulate talk into encourage ...a little something extra
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