Madelyn Gardner

One of the main roles of an advertiser is to persuade a specific audience to make a decision, whether it’s to complete a purchase, click on and watch a video, or sign up for a monthly newsletter. However, persuasive advertising doesn’t work like a hypnotist trying to put their customer in a trance. 

There’s no way an advertiser can talk someone into being interested in a brand just by saying “You are becoming very interested in SEO marketing services.” Marketers have to actually pay attention to their audience’s emotions and goals to successfully persuade them. 

So how does it actually work? Well, we’re here to solve the mystery — show you what’s behind the curtain, if you will. Want to learn the art of persuasive marketing for your next campaign? Let’s get this show on the road.

What Is Persuasive Advertising?

Persuasive advertising is a type of marketing that focuses on the target audience’s emotions, rather than specs or value propositions, to convince them to do something. It’s designed to shine a light on the benefits the brand can offer the end user rather than the actual make, model or efficiencies of the product itself. 

Persuasive Advertising vs. Informative Advertising

While persuasive and informative advertising have the same goal — to get consumers to complete a desired action — they achieve that target differently. Persuasive advertising uses various techniques to convince the audience of a certain belief that leads to a purchase. Informative advertising uses facts and figures to educate consumers on why their brand is the best choice. For example, a software company may update potential users on new features and functions and how they increase efficiency and performance. 

Benefits of Persuasive Advertising in Marketing

Do you want to make your advertising more persuasive and effective? While all types of marketing have a time and place, here are some advantages to using this approach for your brand:

  • Improved brand awareness: Engaging and compelling marketing campaigns may resonate with the target audience, leaving a lasting impression and increasing brand recall.
  • Enhanced customer loyalty and experience: Building strong relationships with customers by focusing on their emotions and tangible needs can foster loyalty and repeat business. When customers have positive experiences with a brand, they’re more likely to become brand advocates. In fact, Deloitte found that customers who have a positive experience will spend 140% more than those who have a negative one. 
  • Competitive edge: Effective persuasive marketing differentiates a brand from competitors and positions it as a preferred choice among consumers. 

Persuasive Advertising Techniques

Carrot and the Stick

Like a horse chasing after a carrot, people are hardwired to move toward things they desire. On the flip side, we’re also prone to move away from pain and hardship. This approach is meant to showcase your ad as the carrot, offering the prospect potential feelings of pleasure. Sticks are the possibilities of loss, which can also be used to make the prospect fearful of pain and go in the other direction. Both the carrot and stick approaches can make potential customers feel emotions that inspire action. 

Bandwagon Appeal

Bandwagons are popular for a reason. Products and services are more appealing when a crowd of people can vouch for their advantages. I mean, would you rather go to a restaurant that has a long line and great reviews or the establishment that’s oddly quiet? Besides being extremely hungry and in need of a meal pronto, you most likely would want to go to the place everyone else is trying to eat at. Social proof — or showing that your brand is widely liked — shows that your company is respected and can be trusted. 

The Scarcity Principle

If supply and demand principles have taught you anything, it’s most likely that rare objects and experiences are valuable. In your advertising efforts, when you use words like “exclusive” and “limited availability,” people may become more interested in what you’re selling. 

Product Comparison

As the name suggests, product comparison takes your brand and a close competitor’s offering and puts them head to head, focusing on a particular emotional response or benefit that the user will receive. 

Let’s say you’re an eReader company looking to boost sales. Using this persuasive technique, you’d compare your product with another top seller in your industry by looking at the battery life. But instead of talking about the actual battery power, you’d highlight your product’s ability to let your customers read for longer periods of time without needing to pause and find an outlet; whereas the other company’s product may only allow half the reading time in between charging. 


Almost everyone loves comedic relief, making humor a positive advertising move when you want to bring people joy. Often, people share funny marketing campaigns with their friends and family, boosting these ads’ popularity and views. 

Second Person

A potential customer cares about what you’re going to do for them, meaning using pronouns like “you and “your” can make your messaging feel as if it’s speaking directly to them. For example, which one sounds more personable?

“Increase your user engagement with SEO content marketing solutions designed for your industry.”


“Businesses can increase their user engagement with SEO content marketing solutions designed for their industry.”

The first example can help readers insert themselves into the narrative you’re creating, making it easier for them to picture benefiting from your services. 


It’s common knowledge that if you hear the same word or phrase over and over again, you’re more likely to remember and believe it. If you read a blog that consistently talks about the brand’s top-notch customer service, you’ll take away that the company knows how to treat its users. Whether this is true doesn’t necessarily matter at that moment because the reader may believe it until proven otherwise. 

Plain Folks

The plain folk advertising technique is a way for advertisers to promote products using ordinary, everyday people, showing that it offers a value that anyone could benefit from, whether by featuring photos of “plain” people in campaigns or sharing stories of normal people using the product. 

Snob Appeal

On the other hand, the snob appeal technique indicates that the product makes the consumer better, smarter or richer than everyone else, drawing in a particular type of person as their audience. Take a luxury car company for example: People may be drawn to the rarity of owning this particular car because it allows them to make assumptions about them just by being associated with the brand. 

Types of Persuasive Ads

Aristotle wasn’t a marketer by any stretch of the imagination. However, he did come up with a theory for how persuasion happens: Either through the character (ethos) of the speaker, the emotional state (pathos) of the hearer or the argument (logos) itself. 

Let’s dive into these three types of persuasion a bit deeper: 

  • Ethos Ads: Appeal to the credibility, authority and trustworthiness of the brand, spokesperson or endorser. These ads aim to persuade by establishing a positive perception of the company’s character or level of expertise. 
  • Pathos Ads: Focus on the emotions of the audience, aiming to make them have feelings that influence decisions. Ads of this nature will often create content that taps into happiness, fear, nostalgia or empathy. 
  • Logos Ads: Look at reason, logic and rational thinking as the main drive to persuade the audience. These ads often emphasize the product’s features, benefits and unique selling points. 

7 Persuasive Advertising Examples

What do these types of persuasive ads and techniques look like in practice? If you want real-world samples, you’re in luck. We have several examples of successful marketing campaigns using these methods:

1. Miller Lite

Miller Lite uses a product comparison to showcase how they offer a beer with half the carbs of Bud Light. This uses peoples’ desire to be healthier as a way to put their product above the competition. This post got a lot of attention on social platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) from people looking for the drink they love without all the carbs. 

2. Heinz

We don’t know if Heinz is a fan of Ed Sheeran, but he’s definitely a fan of Heinz. At least, that’s the approach of a hilarious commercial for the beloved ketchup brand. It used humor and the bandwagon effect to promote its product. I mean, if Ed Sheeran likes it, you’re bound to, right? 

3. Old Spice

In just 30 seconds, Old Spice tells viewers that if their partner used the brand’s body wash, they would offer them tickets to “that thing they love,” a boat or even diamonds. Using both the snob appeal and the carrot and stick advertising technique, this campaign states Old Spice can turn anyone into “the man your man could smell like.” 

4. Airbnb

Airbnb found out that its users want to live like locals while on vacation. They created a campaign spurring people to not just go there, but live there, focusing on the frustration of being a tourist and dealing with large crowds. It highlighted how Airbnb is the solution for people wanting a more authentic travel experience. 

5. Wonderbox

Wonderbox is a French company that creates experiential gifts. It leveraged Spotify for an audio ad campaign focused on “out-of-the-box” gift-giving during the holiday season. The company used its marketing efforts to persuade people that presenting loved ones with special experiences is more meaningful than things that can be wrapped. 

6. Budweiser

Budweiser is known for tugging on people’s heartstrings (remember the puppy and horse commercial?). Its 2017 Super Bowl Commercial focused on an emotional story of how the company’s idea came to fruition. The inspiring video ends with the line, “When nothing stops your dream, this is the beer we drink,” making even the toughest person get a little teary-eyed. 

7. Clorox

Clorox understands the power of the plain folks and bandwagon techniques with an ad that simply states its product is “trusted by moms.” Whether someone is a new mom or is a pro with adult children, seeing an ad like this will feel personal and trustworthy, especially for people needing a cleaning solution ASAP.

Put Your Persuasive Techniques to the Test

Now that you know the secrets to persuasive ad creation, there’s nothing stopping you from mesmerizing potential customers. But rather than using pendulum watches and hypnotic swirling screens, you can persuade them with content focused on their emotional wants and needs.