The Art of Persuasive Advertising + Techniques & Examples

May 21, 2023
5 minute read

Take a look at this ↓


If you were a person with limited wardrobe space, what would this ad say to you?

To me, it says, ‘Stop squishing your stuff - get an IKEA cabinet and solve all your problems!’. The exaggerated imagery is both very relatable and humorous, making it a fantastic ad.

In this blog, we’re going to look at a range of persuasive techniques in advertising and discover what makes them work. 

Ready for an interesting ride? 

Let’s go!

What is Persuasive Advertising?

Persuasive advertising definition: the art of leveraging consumers’ emotions to make them want to buy/do something, using a mixture of graphics and targeted words.

Persuasive strategies in advertising can take many forms - from billboards to TV commercials, to print ads. They can also use various tactics to achieve their desired action, as we’ll discuss below.


14 Persuasive Advertising Techniques & Examples

We’ll go through 14 tactics while citing some examples.

1. The Carrot

An important principle in advertising is that humans desire pleasure and will go to lengths to get it. The carrot technique invokes a desire for the advertised pleasure, just like a horse is tempted by a carrot.

Dunkin' Commercial

This is a classic example of ‘carrot advertising’ - what could produce a greater desire for pleasure than a Dunkin’ commercial showing off its newest treat?


2. The Stick

Quite the opposite of the carrot technique, the stick principle relies on emotional aversion to make people want to avoid a specific type of pain or problem like a donkey instinctively moves away from a stick.

CeraVe Commercial

No one likes acne and CeraVe capitalized on the ugly acne look to show people how much they need a good anti-acne cream, like CeraVe


3. Bandwagon appeal

Human beings naturally want to be ‘part of the crowd’. If everyone else is doing something, we don’t want to miss out!

The bandwagon appeal draws on this human trait to get people to buy things, for fear of missing out.

McDonald’s ‘billions and billions served’ sign is a typical example of the bandwagon appeal - if billions and billions of people have eaten their burgers, they must be good, no?


4. Anti-bandwagon appeal

This technique works in the opposite way to #3, drawing on people’s desire to be unique and express their individuality.


5. The scarcity principle

The scarcity principle creates a sense of urgency, causing people to feel that if they don’t take action now and buy/do a certain thing, there’ll be no more chances - better act quickly!

Verizon Wireless Commercial

This hilarious ad shows the magical effect of scarcity - until the guy with the megaphone said ‘only till July the 4th’, no one budged and when he did say it, they went running!


6. Product comparison

People want the best value for their money, so if a product can show that it has better features than a similar product of a different brand, they’ll be able to draw customers away from other brands and towards their own.

iPhone Commercial

This ingenious product comparison ad shows the benefits of having an iPhone over your old phone, giving you the feeling that your old phone is clunky and you’d be silly not to switch to an iPhone.


7. Humor

Humor is a powerful advertising tool. Everyone likes a laugh and the beauty of humor advertising is that people like to spread jokes. If people point out or share humorous ads with friends, you get a lot of reach with little effort.

Evian Commercial

Evian uses humor to portray their ‘live young message’ by showing how adults literally turn into babies by drinking Evian, featuring dancing babies for a good laugh.


8. Second person

What talks to you more:

‘Dig into our croissantes’, or ‘Dig into your croissant’? 

The difference is plain - we are a self-centered breed and the word ‘you’ automatically causes people to insert themselves into an ad and envision themselves with the advertised product. The feeling that an ad is talking directly to them, makes people far more likely to buy.

Starbucks Commercial

With the words ‘It Starts with YOU’, this persuasive advertising example is designed to make the watcher feel that Starbucks will cater to their preferences and that they are important.


9. Repetition

Repetition drives a message home, so the more consumers are exposed to a certain message, the more likely they are to take action. Repetition can be within an ad itself, or over a series of ads all giving across the same message.


10. Sense of control

As much as advertising is used to persuade people to buy things, no one likes to feel pushed into a corner, and everyone likes to feel in control. Ads that give people a sense of control, by e.g. giving a variety of options to choose from, or making it clear that the choice to buy is up to the customer, are likely to attract people. 

This Ford advert, featuring a city skyline on a car key, with the words ‘The city is in your hands’, gives consumers a sense of control.


11. Snob appeal

Let’s face it - there are snobs in this world, and snobs like to feel elite. Ads that leverage the snob appeal aim to create a feeling of exclusivity that attracts people who enjoy the feeling of superiority that luxury items provide.


12. Plain folk

The plain folk technique attempts to promote a product as practical and of good value. This technique attracts the general population who are always looking for bargains on things that will make their life better and easier.

Nissin Cup Noodles Commercial

With the words ‘delicious, nutritious, and affordable’, and featuring ordinary school children, this is a classic example of an ad that is geared toward plain folk.


13. Avant-garde 

This technique attracts customers with the cry ‘Be the first!’ Whether it’s the first to try something new or adapt to change, people like to feel that they are on the cutting edge.

New Car Commercial

Literally using the words 'avant-garde’, this commercial focuses heavily on this principle - if you get this car, you will be ahead of time!


14. Bribery

Ads that offer free or reduced products if you buy something, use the bribery technique. It convinces consumers that they’ll be getting a good deal, even if they actually won’t be saving any money.

I hope these persuasive advertising examples have helped you get a better grip on what works, and how. 



How can Workamajig help you deliver smashingly successful persuasive ads?

Adverts require careful planning. In fact, every ad is a project unto itself. And successful projects are run by project management software.

And that’s where Workamajig comes in. 

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