Recognizing Emotional Appeal


There are many commercials out there that play on the public’s emotions in order to manipulate behavior or decisions. It is easy to overlook the emotional appeal of these commercials. Emotional appeal not only means feeling sadness but may also make you feel pity, anger, motivation, among others.

Below is a great example of how Extra uses emotion to grab the viewer’s attention. Extra Gum does not seem like a very emotional product, but through emotional appeal, they are able to draw the viewer in and make a non-emotional subject seem touching and inspirational.

In the ad above, personal emotion appeal was used. It made the viewer feel a connection with the father and daughter and it was a heart-warming and touching advertisement.

There are four types of emotional appeals that advertisers typically use:

  1. Personal Appeal- This is the personal emotion that you may feel when viewing an advertisement. For example, happiness, love, sadness, anger, humor, etc.
  2. Social Appeal- More often than not, people are motivated to buy things because everyone else is. Social appeal is about buying something because you like the feeling of being accepted and approved by others around you.
  3. Fear Appeal- This is used to make others worry about if they do not purchase what is being sold, then something bad will happen to them. An example of this is anti-aging cream. Advertisers make it seem like if you do not buy this anti-aging cream, then you will age horribly.
  4. Humor Appeal- This is a great way to get the attention of viewers and is used in many commercials. These ads are generally positive and produce good emotions.

Other appeals used in advertising are:

  • Sex appeal
  • Music appeal
  • Brand appeal
  • Statistics

For more information on emotional appeal, click here.


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