Advertising executives work hard to choose the perfect technique or techniques for a particular advertising campaign. Selecting a medium — whether television, radio, Internet, magazine, newspaper or direct mail — is only part of the advertising process. Another important step in creating commercial advertising is focusing on a technique that will make consumers want to buy a product or a service. Popular commercial advertising techniques include emotional appeal, the use of a celebrity, listing benefits, humor and repetition.
Among the various types of commercial advertising techniques — those used to promote commercial products rather than advancing a political agenda or cause — triggering emotions in consumers is one of the most popular. Commercials for medicines and life insurance policies often play on the emotion of fear. Advertisers may imply that a consumer's health may be at risk without a certain medication or that a consumer's family may not be taken care of if he or she dies without having purchased life insurance. Positive emotions also can trigger consumers to make purchases. Advertisements in which two people fall in love when one person in the ad wears a specific perfume on a date is an example of this.
Celebrity endorsement is one of the commercial advertising techniques that works well for products geared toward children, teenagers and young adults. When a person sees a celebrity that he or she admires wearing a specific brand of sneakers or sunglasses in a commercial or ad, that person may feel the urge to buy the same product and brand. One potential drawback to this technique is that a person who dislikes the featured celebrity may avoid buying the product after seeing the celebrity in the brand's advertisements.
Benefit listing is a classic way to convince consumers to buy a product. Advertisers often have actors talk about how the product has improved their lives. Fitness products, for example, often will use testimonials from regular, everyday people who use the products to help show other consumers that they also can benefit from the product. Some commercials and advertisements will reinforce a product's benefits by including a bullet list of positive attributes.
Some ads for commercial products encourage a bandwagon mentality. These advertisements take the approach that “everyone” is using a product, so the consumer might as well hop on the bandwagon and use the product, too. This is similar to the technique that implies all the popular kids are using a product and the consumer can be popular, too, if he or she uses the product.
A list of commercial advertising techniques would not be complete without mentioning repetition. Commercials often have the product logo appear or the product name be spoken several times in the course of a 30-second spot. Print ads run repeatedly in the same newspapers and magazines. Marketers use repetition to try to ingrain the product name in a consumer's head so the product will stand out in the store aisle the next time the consumer goes shopping.