Persuasive Advertising: All You Need to Know

  • Samuel Darwin
  • Jul 20, 2021

Persuasive Advertising is the art of convincing your customers why your company’s products or services are the best. In a sea of other companies offering the same products and services as you, why should customers choose you?

The ultimate goal here is to influence the consumers to switch brands or buy your product. The ads are designed in a way that it would make the viewers want to make a transaction.

Persuasive advertising is usually done by showing viewers why your product or service is good instead of just telling them. It also makes the viewer feel like it’s very important to switch to your brand. 

Overall, it helps generate demand for the products or services featured. It makes what you’re offering to your customers seem so desirable, it would be foolish not to have it.

But how do we apply it?

Let’s look at some great examples of persuasive advertising. It’ll help us get a better understanding of the topic because we get to see it in action. We then discuss why these ads are so good so you’ll be able to apply them to your own ads.

Let’s get started!

1. Burger King’s – A Whopper of a Secret

Burger King's Whopper burger ad campaign

One of the ways to persuade viewers to buy a product or service is to prove that whatever you’re offering is better than your competitor’s. People would want the most out of their money so they’re more likely to become loyal if you offer things that are of top quality.

Burger King was able to do this well.

They launched an ad campaign in the UK back in late 2019 where they had multiple ads posted around with a “Go on. Say it.” text. Most of the ads were simple photos of a Whopper burger with a white background and plain text.

Later on, they revealed that they had a “Whopper of a Secret.” Apparently, in each of the photos of a Whopper that they took, there’s a “Big” Mac on the other side. They wanted to prove that their burger is bigger than that of their competitors.

This silly but witty ad campaign is a great example of persuasive advertising. It shows customers why their product is better instead of just telling them. 

2. Heinz’s – Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran eating with Heinz ketchup

Another way to persuade people to buy your products is to show them that their favorite people are using the product as well. 

This commercial by Heinz features Ed Sheeran. It was based on an actual DM from Ed Sheeran himself. It was an attempt of the company to popularize Ketchup in the UK.

He goes into a super fancy restaurant and narrates his experience as it happens. As the fancy food comes along, he takes out his trusty Heinz ketchup and adds it to the food. With Ed Sheerin being his usual charming self, the commercial is light and comical. 

This is a good example of persuasive advertising because the company uses an influential person to vouch for its product. Ed is actually a real Heinz fan. He’s able to show people that no matter how posh the food is, ketchup is there to complete it.

People are more than willing to try out products if they see the people they look up to try them. This is especially true for fans of artists and celebrities.

3. Pepsi Cola’s – More Than OK

Cardi B holding a Pepsi can

Another way to persuade customers is through the power of suggestion and association. 

Suggesting is a sneaky way to convince your viewers that your product is good. Suggestions, if done right, can be one of the most powerful ways to influence your viewers. Think of the placebo effect. If you get people to believe hard enough, even their body follows the suggestion.

Association, on the other hand, is more of making connections. Associating your products and services with things that people enjoy is a great way to get them to make a purchase. 

Think of it this way. When you think of good things, your brain sends signals to your body that you feel good. If you attach that same feeling to your product or service, with enough tries, people will start feeling good when they see it.

Pepsi did a good job in applying these concepts in their “Pepsi: More than OK” ad campaign.

In this commercial, they addressed how they’re not just an “okay” alternative to Coke, one of their top competitors. They then follow up by associating Pepsi with puppies, shooting stars, and the laughter of a small child. They make the suggestion as to how Pepsi is just amazing, if not more amazing, than Coke.

If that’s not enough, they even bring in influential people to back up their brand. 

This is why it’s such a good persuasive advertising campaign. It addresses their competitor, brings in influential people, uses suggestions, and associations.

4. HP’s – The Wolf

Collection of HP printers that have antivirus and antimalware

Persuasive advertising can also play on a viewer’s sense of urgency. This creates a perceived need that the viewers need to get the product or service now or else they might miss out.

HP makes use of this in their stunning video advertisement entitled “ The Wolf.” This is a very cinematic commercial that focuses on the importance of having secured devices at work.

It’s amazing how the commercial builds up the urgency by starting with a measly printer. It’s something that we don’t really give a thought about but apparently, it’s one of the ways that hackers can infiltrate a company’s system. It’s a series of chain reactions that lead up to the destruction of the company.

HP reinforces the sense of urgency by showing viewers the dangers of using devices that cannot fight off malware and viruses. They show the viewers how much is at stake if you don’t purchase their products right now.

5. Volvo XC60 – Moments

Volvo XC60 stops just before it's about to hit a little girl

Emotions are also a great way to appeal to viewers and persuade them that your product or service is worth getting. If you’re able to connect with them on an emotional level, they’re more likely to listen and appreciate what you have to offer.

Volvo does a great job of doing this in their “Moments” ad campaign. It features a mother and a child who is talking about the future. The child narrates the life she sees for herself, the future she wants to pursue. Then everything could have changed in an instant as the child was walking to school.

The company was able to show the importance of its product while connecting to people on a personal level. What makes this persuasive advertising campaign very effective is that it showed how their product can literally change lives.

They’re able to show how much value they can bring to the customer and to the people around them. 

Key Takeaway

Summary of approaches to persuasive advertising

Persuasive advertising is a powerful tool to have in your marketing arsenal. Being able to connect to your viewers is the key to influencing them to make a purchase. 

As we have discussed in the examples above, you can use the following approaches to persuasive advertising:

  • Comparing your product to your competitors
  • Using a prominent figure to influence your viewers
  • Suggestion and association
  • Creating a sense of urgency
  • Appealing to your viewer’s emotions

Being able to master these approaches will help elevate your advertisements.

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