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What Are the Different Persuasive Advertising Techniques?

Rhonda Rivera
Rhonda Rivera

Statistics, celebrity endorsements, and product placements are all persuasive advertising techniques. The use of statistics — however vague — can convince ad viewers that one product is better than another. Celebrity endorsements or even endorsements by random paid actors can help generate interest in a product. Product placements are often subtly persuasive, but studies indicate that people can better remember and are more trusting of product placement ads than television commercials. In addition, before-and-after photos are also effective, though not always entirely truthful.

Some persuasive advertising techniques use statistics to attract consumers. Depending on local laws, statistics quoted in adverts may be required to be true, but being obligated to tell the truth sometimes does not stop companies from framing the statistic in an odd or misleading way. For example, a commercial might state, “This cleaner is 20% more effective than the leading brand.” This statement may be convincing because it sounds as if the product is the best of its kind. In reality, the leading brand is not necessarily the best product available, and the extra effectiveness might be insignificant overall.

A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising to indicate that ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing certain types of hair.
A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising to indicate that ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing certain types of hair.

The use of celebrities or paid actors who give testimonials about the product is also common. Sometimes the celebrities or actors state that the product changed their lives for the better. These persuasive advertising techniques help associate the product with someone famous and admired or at least a person the viewer can relate to. In some cases, the person giving the testimonial might only have used the product the day the advertisement was filmed or would not ordinarily use the product.

Product placement is another kind of marketing primarily used in television shows and movies. As far as persuasive advertising techniques go, this is usually one of the most subtle. Companies pay to have their products placed on a show, and they usually pay even more to have a main character interact with the product. Sometimes product placement is subtle, like seeing a brand of beverage in the background. Other times, product placement can be so obvious that viewers complain, which has happened to some big-budget movies in which main characters talk about the product directly.

Before-and-after photos are among the most popular persuasive advertising techniques used in weight loss ads, and they can be very effective. Studies have found that the reported achievements are typically not standard for everyone. In fact, many commercials include a disclaimer on the before-and-after photos stating that the results are not typical. The results shown in before-and-after photos were achieved by someone and can be achieved by a random consumer, but they are usually not realistic expectations.

Discussion Comments


I admit that I am often swayed by statistics in advertisements. They just sound so scientific and genuine, whether they are true or not.

Basically, they sound like facts, and I am a facts-oriented individual. I cannot be swayed by celebrities or before-and-after photos, but if you can hand me what seems to be solid data, I will believe you.

I especially love food items that are advertised to be a certain percent less fat or calories than some other kind. I am always looking to eat healthier or at least not put on more weight, and this is a selling point for me.


@Oceana – I know what you mean. I think that most people can see through the hype and know better than to expect to lose hundreds of pounds.

What puzzles me is those acne treatment commercials featuring beautiful celebrity women. They all say they had problems with acne, and then up pops a photo of them on stage somewhere with bumps on their faces.

I always question why we never saw them with acne before in any of their music videos or TV performances. Could it be because they really didn't have acne, and these photos were altered to include pimples?

However, I do think these ads are very effective for their target audience, which is teenagers. They are more likely to believe the celebrities really saw results, and wanting to be like them, they will beg their parents to purchase the product.


I am always wary of those weight loss product commercials. They often feature someone who weighed a couple hundred pounds who has trimmed down to 130 or so, and they have to include that disclaimer that the results are not typical.

If they are not typical, then why was this person chosen to represent the results in the ad? It makes me mad. I think they should use an example of their average results, even though I know that wouldn't be as appealing.

I would be much more likely to believe that someone lost ten pounds on the product than fifty. I think that if the company were able to state that these were the typical results, then this could be a good selling point for people who just want to drop a few pounds.


I think that obvious product placement is funny. I'm not offended by it at all.

I recently saw a television program that featured one of the main actresses driving a new car. The passenger commented on how smooth the ride was, and the driver went on to list other advantages of the car. She mentioned the brand and the year in her description, and for a moment, I wondered if maybe the show had gone to commercial.

I just chuckled to myself. I knew that this was a persuasive advertising technique, and the way that it was worked into the scene was genius.

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    • A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising to indicate that ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing certain types of hair.
      By: Ariwasabi
      A shampoo maker might use persuasive advertising to indicate that ingredients in its product are ideal for nourishing certain types of hair.