15 Basic Appeals, by Jib Fowles
(from "Mass Advertising As Social Forecast")
1. Need for sex- surprisingly, Fowles found that only 2 percent of the television ads, he surveyed used this appeal. It may be too blatant, he concluded, and often detracts from the product.
2. Need for affiliation- the largest number of ads use this approach: you are looking for friendship? Advertisers can also use this negatively, to make you worry that you'll lose friends if you don't use a certain product.
3. Need to nurture- every time you see a puppy or a kitten or a child, the appeal is to your paternal or maternal instincts.
4. Need for guidance- a father or mother figure can appeal to your desire for someone to care for you, s you won't have to worry. Betty Crocker is a good example.
5. Need to aggress- we all have had a desire to get even, and some ads give you this satisfaction.
6. Need to achieve- the ability to accomplish something difficult and succeed identifies the product with winning. Sports figures as spokespersons project this image.
7. Need to dominate- the power we lack is what we can look for in a commercial "master the possibilities."
8. Need for prominence- we want to be admired and respected; to have high social status. Tasteful china and classic diamonds offer this potential.
9. Need for attention- we want people to notice us; we want to be looked at. Cosmetics are a natural for this approach.
10. Need for autonomy- within a crowded environment, we want to be singled out, to be a "breed apart." This can also be used negatively: you may be left out if you don't use a particular product
11. Need to escape- flight is very appealing; you can imagine adventures you cannot have; the idea of escape is pleasurable
12. Need to feel safe- to be free from threats, to be secure is the appeal of many insurance and bank ads
13. Need for aesthetic sensations-beauty attracts us, and classic art or dance makes us feel creative, enhanced
14. Need to satisfy curiosity-facts support our belief that information is quantifiable and numbers and diagrams make our choices seem scientific
Psychological needs- Fowles defines sex (item no.1) as a biological need, and so he
classifies our need to sleep, eat, and drink in this category. Advertisers for
juicy pizza are especially appealing late at night.
Source: Media Impact Introduction to Mass Media (4th Ed) Author: Shirley Biagi,