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The Seven Ad Appeals

Published date: 13th March 2018
Last modified: 13th March 2018

To be a successful advertiser you need to make more return than you spend on investment. Which means that your advertisements need to see some kind of value back whether that be goals such as a brand awareness, shifting consumers beliefs about a product or whether it be cold cash through sales. Investment needs to be put back into the business. To do this advertisers need to reach consumers emotions and appeal to them. A way this can be achieved is through the seven ad appeals.

Learn more: The Means-end Advertising Theory 

The seven ad appeals are a set of seven persuasion techniques that tap into consumers thoughts and purchasing decisions. They attract target audiences by relating to consumers every day experiences in hope of tapping into their personal values, beliefs and self identity.

Clow and Baack 2014 7 Ad Appeals


The characteristics of fear ad appeals are that they are used to promote multiple products. They increase interest and persuasiveness they have increased recall as well as an increased chance of processing the message. A moderate level of fear is more effective and usually these appeals are ran by insurance firms and governing bodies.


This ad appeal breaks through the clutter, it is interesting. Increased attention in both male and female, attention greater in opposite sex situations This ad appeal has a Lower brand recall and Sexual appeal distracts from product they can trigger arousal, leading to effective, cognitive responses.

Sexual appeals in different ways

  1. Subliminal approaches
  2. Sensuality

Sexually suggestive

  1. Nudity/ partial nudity – use for products with sexual nature. Popular in print.
  2. Over sexuality – used for sexually orientated products

Sexual criticisms

  1. Perpetuates dissatisfaction with body
  2. Female stereotyping

Level of Sexual Appeal

Advertisers must determine societies view and level of acceptance take into account religion, culture and values in order to determine levels of nudity, sexual references and gender specific issues. In some countries, sexual issues are taboo and are ethically frowned upon.


This Urges an audience to buy due to limitation, it is tied with other promotion tools for example sales, the objective is to take action.


Is Important, catches attention but can also be intrusive as music is linked to emotions, experiences and memories. This appeal is stored in the long term memory part of the brain. Therefore, You can tie a song to a product and this will lead to better recall. This appeal can increase the persuasiveness of the message and can have a primary role or be incidental.


The humour appeal can be used to attract, keep attention and interest viewers. It has higher recall, triggers past emotions and improves moods. The humour should be connected to the product benefits but should not be over powering. However, this appeal is sometime difficult to execute, it can go wrong, hence this snickers super bowl ad.


Create attachment between the brand and the consumer, these advertisements are more creative and visual cues are especially important. Music and a spokesperson go hand in hand, repetition is important and television is the best media for this appeal.


This ad appeal Follows the Hierarchy of effects stages, it leads to stronger conviction about the benefits of the product. It expects customers to process this message, is good for print but it does require high involvement. It is superior to other appeals in changing consumer beliefs and attitudes.

Next time you need to put together advertising collateral whether it be for print, social media, Google AdWords, radio or television think about how you are going to appeal to your audience and test different suitable frameworks to present them in.

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