How many people buy products just because of persuasive advertisement on TV? How does the advertisement encourage the audience to buy their products even though people do not know whether displayed items actually work or not? According to the research, almost 90% of advertisements whether on TV or printed apply two or more propaganda techniques.
Propaganda is a very persuasive effort to direct or change people’s ideas, in order to make a certain view or side that propaganda provides. There are seven beneficial techniques such as name calling, glittering generalities, transfer, testimonial, plain folks, card stacking, and band wagon, which are used in every advertisement.
Many people prefer to drink the Vitaminwater instead of taking vitamin capsules because they have seen a very successful advertisement. The Vitaminwater’s facebook flavorcreator advertisement promotes the product by using three specialized propaganda techniques.
The Vitaminwater advertisement uses the name calling technique. This technique implies that instead of focusing on how good the products are, the advertisement shows the awful effects that one faces in case he/she consumes another good (particularly, a substitute competitor: a good that satisfies the same needs as the given good).
This technique is often used in politics and a bit more seldom in advertising. In many cases, it is quite difficult to compromise one product in another product’s advertisement, as this technique is illegal. However, an advertisement can address an “anonymous” enemy. The advertisement of the Vitaminwater is this very case: the drink’s “enemy” is traditional vitamins taken with water.
The advertisement does not mention any concrete names of vitamins, but addresses them all. The advertisement illustrates how difficult and unpleasant it is to take vitamins. The effect is strengthened with the play on colors: while we see a girl taking vitamins in black and white, the Vitaminwater is shown in bright attractive colors.
Furthermore, the Vitaminwater advertisement uses the testimonial technique. In order to persuade the audience to believe and to choose the items, companies invite experts in related fields or irrelevant famous stars in the advertisements.
No doubt, this technique has the very old roots: when Aristotle was writing his Rhetoric (by the way, the focus of rhetoric is making a speech persuasive, which is incredibly important for advertising), he could not imagine that his notion of ethos (the appeal in one’s speech that emphasizes a speaker’s authority, power and competence) will be used by advertisers in the 21st century.
To use the testimonial technique successfully, it is important to choose a “right person” to appear in an advertisement. For example, if we promote cosmetics, it is reasonable to invite a beautiful female singer or actress who is popular with girls or women included into the target segment. If we talk about a medicament or a health care product, the personage of a doctor in a white smock will be appropriate.
In the advertisement of the Vitaminwater, the celebrity is chosen very successfully: Steve Nash is a famous professional basketball player. In consumers’ mind, his image associates with strength and energy, which makes them think that drinking the Vitaminwater will help them to become as strong as Steve. Besides, we see Curtis “50 cent” Jackson: he is popular with many young people, and his image is supposed to encourage young consumers to buy the product.
Moreover, the commercial chooses the glittering generalities technique to recommend the product. Applying this technique implies that an advertisement uses strong, attractive words and phrases to show how good a product is in order to attract the audience’s attention.
In many cases, the words have broad meaning and are interpreted by different people in different ways: for example, such words as “freedom”, “pleasure” arouse different associations in different people’s minds. The words “effective”, “healthy” innovative et al are also supposed to work well in advertisements.
In the advertisement of the Vitaminwater, we hear strong, persuasive phrases: for example, “changed the game”, “futuristic” – these words present the product as a real breakthrough: it is innovative and has no analogs; “stress” – the advertisement shows that getting vitamins in a different way is quite exhausting; “as easy as 1, 2, 3” – it is incredibly easy to purchase the product.
Besides, Steve emphasizes the words “you”, “your own vitamin water”, which also has its effect: a consumer feels that the advertisement addresses him/her personally, and he/she becomes psychologically closer to the product. At the same time, the strong words are emphasized with the intonation (Steve’s speech is very bright and expressive) and the pictures (the words are displayed in bright colors).
Thus, the Vitaminwater advertisement takes advantage of three propaganda techniques, which persuades the audience to believe and to purchase the product. The name calling technique is aimed at “eliminating” the product’s competitors: it positions the Vitaminwater as the most convenient and innovative way to take vitamins.
The testimonial technique helps to make the advertisement more persuasive: the words of celebrities are expected to interest and convince consumers. The glittering generalities technique helps to emphasize the message of the advertisement and influence consumers’ minds with the help of bright words. Three techniques are fused successfully and supplement each other.