Being creative requires more than being funny. Targeting consumer needs with the right advertising appeals is critical in marketing.

 In advertising, there are many choices to be made concerning the message that should be conveyed. How to convey that message needs to be strategic and well conceived. One of the most important first steps is to determine what the purpose of the campaign is and the specified target audience. By clearly knowing the purpose and the intended target audience, then creative talents can be focused on what should be the appropriate common theme and which set of advertising appeals and execution styles should be employed.

An advertising appeal is an approach that uses a type of message intended to influence the way the consumer relates to what is being sold. In order to reach the consumer, the right appeal (tactic) needs to used and that is based on objective of campaign and the type of consumer being targeted.



Emotional appeals are the most common appeals utilized by marketers. This type of appeal targets a consumer’s emotions and influence consumer engagement. Anytime a marketer can get a consumer to identify with the situation, especially through emotion, the percentage of conversion (purchase) increases dramatically.


Simply stated, the idea of using an emotional appeal is to relate to the individual’s psychological and social needs for purchasing a product or service.



Emotional appeals include:

  • Personal appeal-Focused on emotions centered around the need for love, joy, self-esteem, happiness, safety, and family well-being
  • Social appeal-Focused on the individual need for recognition, respect, involvement, affiliation, and status
  • Fear appeal-Focused on individual needs based on fears….fear of loss of health, safety, and beauty
  • Humor appeal-It is proven that “humor” sells, because of attention, association, and memory recall is improved through an engaging humorous message

Other common types of appeals include sex appeal, music appeal, scarcity appeal, brand appeal, adventure appeal, endorsement, romance appeal and others.

The next step in using a specific appeal is to determine the executional styles for advertising.  This is critical to get correct and has to be aligned with the type of appeal.

Executional styles include: 

  • Lifestyle: One of the most successful, relevant current strategies—Shows “how” the product or service will “fit” perfectly into the consumer’s lifestyle or raise their convenience or quality of life. This format can be associated with personal appeal, causing the consumer to desire the lifestyle they see others in the advertisement experiencing, because they have the product depicted. If a consumer cannot “see” and “feel” the benefit of product/service to them, the sale will not happen. Lifestyle “shows” the consumer “how” and creates an aspiration for the offering. (i.e. A beautiful set of new lawn furniture being enjoyed by a family).
  • Slice-of-Life: Another successful style, usually associated with social appeal, depicts people in a normal setting enjoying life because of a certain product or service. This style is aimed at creating an attachment to an offering through showing how “they” could enjoy a slice-of-good-life if they were to engage in the offering. (ie. An advertisement depicting a luxurious cruise.)
  • Spokesman/Testimonial/Endorsement: Having celebrities or experts explain a product is often a way to have a consumer gain trust in a brand. However, trust has to be authentically created and not just a paid voice that is not behind  the brand. Consumers today are smarter than ever and loyalty and trust cannot be bought, only earned.
  • Fantasy: Creating a fantasy around a product and what it can do for a consumer often aligns well with a social appeal-the need to identify with something bigger than oneself. (i.e. The status of having a sports car with the fantasy of a beautiful women being impressed by it.)
  • Humorous: Aligns directly with the humor appeal to engage a consumer in something that is funny and memorable. More than 30% of advertisements utilize humor for greater success.

Other execution styles include musical, scientific, mood/image.

Overall, being creative is very important, but before one can be creative in the right direction, the purpose of the campaign and the target audience needs to be determined. From there, an appropriate type of advertising appeal and execution style will provide creative direction. The funniest message in the world may not have the effect desired if it does not evoke the right emotional recognition of a need and appeal to the person who “sees” the advertisement.

Written by: Sabrina Pack-Professional Marketing Consultant