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The Use of Emotional and Rational Appeals in Marketing

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International business and marketing have been growing non-stop over the past decade, and that’s because the internet has made it a lot easier for companies to promote their products all over the world from the comfort of their own place. But with the business growing the competition also grows, this is why business owners need to rely on effective promotional strategies, companies need to constantly tell their clients and potential clients what sets them apart from other companies, what they offer that others can’t. This is why different advertising strategies are applied by the marketing team in the company, there is almost over 23 types of advertising appeals that are currently being used, this would include emotional and rational appeals, what sets them apart and how effective are they on the viewer, is something that depends entirely on the nature of the advertisement and the nature of the product being advertised, but it also depends heavily on the culture of a place, or the nature of the target audience, some people are easily swayed by emotions others need hard facts before they make a decision of associating with a company or a product.


Appealing to consumers all over the world has always been a challenge for international advertisers and the challenge will only continue to grow more and more everyday due to the rapid advancement of the technology which enables the growth of international business which in turn cause another growth in the marketing and advertising industry. This growth has led consumers over the globe to be exposed to over ten thousand ad a day, this in turn has led people who work in the marketing industry into a tight spot, because if the consumer is exposed to this amount of ads and products and services, how can we appeal to them?

In an effort to stand out and to catch the consumers’ eyes marketers usually tend to design their advertising campaign with a motivational appeal to get their message across. These appeals are often classified into two types of appeals “Rational Appeal” and “Emotional Appeal”

Emotional Appeal

Emotional appeal basically means to try and bond the consumer to the product by using emotions, this is because of the fact that emotional appeal or emotions in general play a really big role on how we react to things, because we as humans usually have instinctive responses to emotional situations it’s something we develop as children that grows with us, these reactions are usually personal to, this is due to the fact that the consumer/viewer usually try to associate the ad with a past experiment, this would also help the viewer form a perception of the brand and the product. It’s been found that when successful, emotional appeal can alter and have a great effect on people’s attitude towards the product and the entire company.

Rational Appeal

As shown, advertisers who use the rational appeal usually try to bring out or point to the practical, functional and reasonable need for a certain product. “The Rational Appeal persuades audiences to purchase something or act on something by appealing to their sense of reason or logic. In other words, the Rational Appeal effectively makes something make sense or seem obvious in such a way that it really can’t be argued.” This is what The Visual Communication Guy: Designing Information to … have used to describe rational appeal which accurately summarizes the whole thing. Rational appeal is especially effective when the product contains many features that appeals to a person’s sense of reason. One of the advantages of rational appeals is that facts,numbers and logic are easy to recall.

However most of the time marketers don’t really have to choose between rational and emotional appeal, because of the fact that most of the time it’s really easy to apply both of them at the same time, yes it’s that only one of the two technique is the dominating one throughout the ad both appeals come to play. For example emotional appeal may require facts to back it up and to justify why you would need to make a certain choice or buy a certain product, also facts and logic can also heighten your emotional response to the ad. Emotions also have a big effect on how consumers respond to a rational appeal, this act is usually called “Persuasion”, studies have shown people tend to be persuaded faster and easier when they have a positive emotional response. So basically the most effective ads are the ones who use both emotional and rational appeals to persuade consumers, because consumers buy with emotions and then justify the purchase with logic and reason. What advertiser need to understand is that in order for their ad to be effective they need to learn how to blend both the emotional and rational aspects of their product into their marketing plan, ads need to

provoke past memories to gauge out emotions but also need to appeal to the reason and logic of the consumer, if done properly this can be effective and leave a positive perception of the company and product for the consumers for months into the future.

Types Of Advertising Appeals

Because as I mentioned before the marketing industry is a very competitive place that advertising people are always on the look for the best way to advertise their products, and it’s given that most of the time they use one of the two motivational appeals which would be the rational and emotional ones things might seem simple right? However this is not the case, the reason why would be the fact that rational and emotional appeals are two big spectrums with many more other types of appeals underneath them. There are a total of 23 types of appealing techniques used by advertising people.

Types Of Emotional Appeal

The first 14 types of the 23 types fall into the Emotional Appeal category. Getting someone emotional doesn’t always mean you have to make them sad or teary eyed, there is a wide variety of emotions that advertising people can provoke if they use the right method. This is why There are so many types of emotional appeals, because there is no set or default way to evoke emotions.

  • Personal Appeal

In this commercial the famous Gillette brand uses the personal appeal technique to catch the consumer’s attention, they do that by showing how intimate skin to skin contact is between children and their parents, and since a baby’s skin is so fragile that even facial hair could hurt it, it’s important to use the Gillette razors because it guarantees smooth skin, this is of course only way to interpret it.

  • Social Appeal

Social appeal depends on attracting people to products or a service by giving them a sense of social acceptance, it focuses more on sharing with friends or bring your family, it usually motivates consumers to socialize.

  • Humor Appeal

Humor appeal is the type of appeal that persuades people to buy a product or service by making them laugh. That doesn’t mean that the product or service doesn’t have anything to offer, they convey the message with humor.

  • Fear Appeal

Fear appeal is when advertising people arouse fear in consumers in an attempt to get them to stop a certain behavior, or to get a certain service.

  • Romantic Appeal

Romantic appeal is displaying attraction between couples in ads,to convey a message that the product or service will increase the proximity between couples.

  • Endrosment Appeal

This happens when celebrities promote a product or a service that isn’t necessarily important or needed but people still usually buy it, because of the image.

  • Youth Appeal

This type of appeal usually plays into the whole no one want to age notion, which is a little true, so when a company wants to promote a product for old people they use really young models for the product.

  • popularity appeal

This appeal is usually utilized when something is already liked or popular among people, for example a lot of people already like Nike it’s a huge company and it’s really popular and what they do to capitalize on the popularity is that they put their logo on all their products, which then will get people to buy more just because it has the Nike logo.

  • Musical Appeal

Music is an important part of an ad, in fact music and the sounds used are usually the making point of an ad, for example when you use calm and low music it’s gonna give people a sense of comfort, and if you use upbeat music it’s gonna make them happy..etc

  • .Advernture Appeal

Because the whole Jeep brand revolves around adventure this is a really good interpretation of how their car is fit for all types of adventures.

  • Empathy Appeal

This type of appeal is used to provoke emotions in understanding a cause.

  • Potntial Appeal

As seen in the LEGO ad potential appeal tends to give a sense of empowerment, or hope in the future.

  • Brand Appeal

Brand appeal is when brand usually rely heavily on the consumers’ need to get themselves a treat or to spoil themselves with this certain brand because they “earned it”, for example you can buy coffee from a lot of places for a really low price however you would still get it from starbucks just because it’s starbucks.

Types Of Rational Appeal

As I mentioned before the other type of appeal is rational appeal which uses the logic and reason approach and there are 9 types of rational appeal.

  • Pain Solution

People are extremely and easily motivated when they have a problem that needs fixing, the pain solution approach depends on offering a solution for your problems no matter what they may be.

  • Scracity Appeal

This CocaCola campaign was offered for a limited time, basically the idea is that you can get your name on a personalized Coke bottle, this also boosted the brand appeal. Also people were buying because it was for a limited time.

  • Testmonial Appeal

Usually the testimonial appeal technique gets someone in their ads to boast about how effective or how good the product or the service is, however in this ad doritos have used a lighthearted way to prove that their product is so good that even your dog would buy them.

  • Contrasting Appeal

In this ad we can see a clear contrast between those who use the IKEA brand and the rest of the building. Contrast appeal is when companies try to set themselves apart from everyone else.

  • Status Appeal

Obviously we can see that these expensive leather shoes are here to represent the status of the person who wears them, we can also see that they are worn out because of the acceleration pedal. The BMW brand is addressing a certain class of people, someone who wouldn’t want to ruin their expensive leather shoes, which is why they should get their car, which is also expensive.

  • Statistical Appeal

This one is very simple, statistical appeal solely relies on statistics and numbers to promote their products.

  • Beauty Appeal

There are a lot of marketers who usually depend on the beauty of their product to promote it, because beauty makes a big part of “reason” or “logic”, the rational response for when you see something pretty is to buy it.

  • Transparent Appeal

Because it’s a known fact that nothing is 100% perfect and ideal, it’s always best that you be honest and transparent with your consumers with your brand’s flaws. This would build a level of trust between the consumers and the company.

  • Natural Appeal

Being real and natural can help people connect with the message, people tend to like things they can identify with this is why natural appeal tries to highlight the natural beauty of a thing or a product, this can connect better with the audience.


In the end I would like to state that both types of appeal are extremely effective, and that neither can work without the other. The emotional type of appeals also needs to provide solid facts and numbers for the consumers so it can ease their minds, and rational types of appeal still need to evoke the consumers’ emotions one way or another, because if you just provide numbers and facts without trying to connect the consumer with the product, the consumer may not be interested this is due to the fact the we as human like things that we can connect with, that reminds us of our childhood or that gives is hope in the future, or as simple as something that we can relate to, people generally prefer things that can trigger their memories. So basically that would mean that both types of motivational appeals are needed for a successful and effective marketing plan. 

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