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Persuasion Techniques In Advertisement Media Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1950 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The main theme of this paper is to discuss the topic of persuasion in the media through the usage of several examples to explain some of the techniques used to perform this function. Persuasion is one of the many different types of communication that exist, and the best way to begin to define the persuasive communication is primarily giving a definition of what communication is. A quite widespread definition about what communication is would be to say that communication is the action or process where there is an exchange of information of any kind between two or more individuals. Also, it is important to understand that this process is dynamic, transactional, it affects both the sender of the message, and who listen to it and receive it. Persuasive communication is outside our consciousness, since it influences us and manipulates more than what we usually realize. We often hear about the power of specific communicators. We also know that those who control information are very powerful. When we talk about the power public speaking, we are only recognizing what experts have known for years, we recognize that communication that influences others is a powerful weapon.

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The main problem is that the persuasive communication is a tool that can be used for good or bad purposes, to change behaviors, but in one way or another it is important to recognize that it is a powerful tool. For this reason, although the communication fulfils different functions, the purpose is this paper is to show how in the media through the marketing advertisements, we can also use persuasion as a tool to persuade the audience into buying a product.

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) & Slim Fast

In this ad for Slim Fast, the target audience is middle class females who are in a stage of their lives in which they have a successful career. Women are very aware of their weight usually more than men do. Also inside their main audience target, the ad appeals minority females in their 30 and older since this is the time when most start to achieve success climbing the career ladder and at the same time most already have family making it more difficult to take care of their bodies since time is now limited and there is no much room for exercise. The quick and easy answer is Slim Fast. Therefore, the ad shows that a woman in her 30s can have a healthy and thin body because she uses the Slim Fast product. Even the name is persuasive, “Slim-Fast”, this implies not much work, for people in a hurry to lose weight.

In the ad they used as spokesperson a celebrity, a person women could identify with and the before and after pictures are always very effective to persuade audience this is a trusted product. This audience is all about success, and to represent a person who is being successful in life, we must be thin. Not being able to take good care of your body, especially for women in the professional work environment could be seen as a failure. The ad utilizes strategies from the Elaboration Likelihood Model(ELM) to persuade its audience. First the ad uses visual elements to motivate the usage of mental processes to motivate audience to accept the persuasive message. The ad makes good use of the analysis results to understand the audience in order to come up with the ad strategy. In the ELM model the ad used the peripheral route by the celebrity endorsement since it is a way to connect the audience with the product since it helps the receiver think about something that the person is familiar with(after all weight lost, is a “Fact of Life”-TV show where the celebrity being used in this ad became popular back in the early 80s, period when the target audience where in their late teens) and to rely on audience lack of capability to achieve the goal to reduce weight. Lastly self-esteem is effectively appealed by this same route since by gaining audience emotional involvement to demonstrate if the actress selected was able to do it, the audience can do it too.

Social Judgment Theory

In this advertisement for Mercedes-Benz, the target audience is upper – middle class individuals who are coming up in the professional ladder. Young executives like to demonstrate in the way they dress, what they eat, and more important what they drive, that they are successful people. For most people cars make a social status statement, and what better statement to show everybody how successful we are, by getting a Mercedes-Benz. The biggest challenge for many people in getting such a prestigious car is the cost, and in the ad, they already give the solution; “raise expectations, but not the payments”. The persuasive message is why settling for less if now you can get a Mercedes-Benz for an affordable price. This ad uses subliminal persuasion since in the picture the car is driving up, or “heading up”. In other words, once again, we see the message about moving up the professional ladder. In addition in the picture the car’s wheels are in motion, another subliminal message of the “always moving” and “fast-paced” on how people judge individuals who are working towards achieving their goals. It is interesting to see in the picture the lack of color to give the impression of a classical and somewhat elegant item.

This advertisement utilizes strategies from the Social Judgment Theory to persuade its audience. My interpretation of the use of this theory in the ad, is that when people receive the nonverbal message, they immediately judge the ad message based on how they view and measure being successful, and to be able to “own” this car, will give them the prestige they view as representation of the success they are experiencing in their personal and professional lives. The message was crafted keeping in mind an audience who has a high ego-involvement based on their values and views of how they measure success and this enable a high level of acceptance/agreement with the message. Professionals in their social networks and affiliations usually will agree with the majority opinion more often than not, and in this type of groups most of them own or wish they could own a Mercedes-Benz. This is a result of high ego-involvement, or taking on the group’s views/judgments as one’s own.

Subliminal & Co-Creation Theories

In this lipstick ad, the target audience is women-young adults in their 20s – 30s who are not afraid to express themselves. They want to look sexy, they want to feel sexy for the opposite sex, and they are looking for company and what better than using a red lipstick. Young adults are always looking for action, are not afraid of risks, and in this ad we see two nice looking adults who are not afraid to demonstrate to each other how they are feeling and what they want.

The persuasive approach is very graphic and it is used by having beautiful women with white complexion to highlight the redness of her bold, shiny lips. The use of sex appeal, and color, is part of the persuasion process to convince audience it is ok to be beautiful and this lipstick will give them the lips they’ve always wanted and it would drive men crazy. The subliminal approach continues with the way she is using the lipstick (girl’s mouth open while using the lipstick) and the man kissing her, suggesting that she feels sexy wearing the lipstick and it could lead for more than just a kiss. The Co-creation process is clearly used in this ad since it leads audience to co-create what is going on or what is about to happen with the couple in the picture. Once again this is a very effective approach to appeal to the main audience this ad is targeting since they are in their prime age and are interested to attract the opposite sex. The picture is not complete since we cannot see where they are, are they dressed or not dressed? or what their eyes look like, giving audience the opportunity to imagine different scenarios where the action is taking place; her apartment, his house, or at a club. The co-creation process is used by omitting information in the picture which helps audience co-create their own unique scenario with the expectation that this will help persuade potential buyers to get the product since once we co-create a unique scenario it can have a more effective appeal to me as an individual.

Compliance Gaining Theory & Kama Sutra Condoms

In this ad for Kama Sutra condoms, the target audience is adults in their 20s to 30s who are self-confidents and are very clear of what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. Men self – esteem many times is measured by the capability to satisfy women, and the ad provides an answer to this dilemma. This ad persuades men with the message that they not just will have sex but they will be able to enjoy it more because they would achieve to experience it for much longer by using this condom. In the other hand Women are also persuaded with this ad, since the message is that not only they will have “safe-sex” by getting protection, but it will not limit their capability to be satisfied. The picture shows a good-looking people which also appeals to audience by sending this message that “good-looking” people know how to have fun. I believe sexually explicit pictures attract attention, are interesting and engaging, and direct processing resources toward the sexual stimulus and this lead to a positive attitude towards the product.

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This advertisement utilizes strategies from the Compliance Gaining Theory to persuade its audience. The persuasive message is very interpersonal by clearly establishing the promise that the people who use this product are rewarded. The product clearly sends this message by writing in big letters right in the front package: “long last”. There are different elements of this theory used in this ad, since also I can see the “debt” factor playing in the persuasive message, since most men feel like they “owe” women the pleasure of sex. In addition, “self-feeling” is very evident since using this product will make both feel very good by having a “long” and fulfilling time. The “esteem” element is also played in the ad since the ad establishes that by using it, the partners will be satisfied. In summary both female and male audience will be positively influenced by this ad by appealing to their self-gratification.


We can see how in the media and in particular advertising, the process of persuasion is critical in order to achieve success through the process to convince the audience to acquire certain products, either goods or services. To achieve persuasion, advertising media uses different methods and strategies to present a product or service as something necessary for the consumer.

We are surrounded by advertising everywhere. Posters in the subway, clothing brands, advertisements on television, making us feel we are constantly being targeted by persuasion messages which are impossible to get rid of it. Advertising is executed by people and, therefore, is subject to the same virtues and their same defects but, what is very important is to acknowledge that it is a powerful communication tool. For that reason, it is important to learn more about the different persuasion strategies that are used in the media in order to determine when we are being targeted to get something that really we do not need or convince us to change our principles.


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