An advertising appeal is the primary claim used in an advertisement to market a particular product or service. Advertisements, whether they appear in print, on the Internet, on billboards, or on television, usually have one major claim that they use to increase the appeal of a specific product. In most cases, the advertising appeal used in a given advertisement has little to do with the merits of the product itself. Professionals in advertising instead try to appeal to the emotions, social preferences, or other aspects of their target demographics. They tend to use words, images, and music to demonstrate how purchasing a given product or service will increase one's social standing, happiness, attractiveness, or other aspects of one's self.
There are many different types of advertising strategies that are intended to appeal to different aspects of one's character. One highly prevalent type of advertising appeal is the emotional appeal. An emotional appeal is intended to create an emotional state favorable to the aims of the advertisers in those who see or hear a given advertisement. Emotional appeals are usually made based on human desires for happiness, comfort, and social recognition, or fear of social danger or social rejection. Specific emotionally-charged words, phrases, images, or music clips are used to subtly suggest that the product or service advertised will increase one's overall emotional satisfaction with life.
Though the emotional appeal is probably the most common type of advertising appeal, many other types of appeals can be used independently of or in conjunction with emotional appeals. Humor, for instance, is a common advertising appeal because it tends to link a product or service with a clever and humorous message that may remain in the viewer's mind for quite some time. Romance and sexuality are also commonly used types of advertising appeals. Many advertisements suggest that the use of a product or service will make one more attractive and more successful in romantic and sexual pursuits.
In some cases, an advertising appeal is intended to be universal while in other cases the appeal is targeted at a specific audience. Many advertisements for toys and games, for instance, emphasize just how much fun a child can have with the product. This type of advertising appeal may be effective on children and on parents, but few others are likely to want to buy products intended for children. Similarly, advertisements for expensive suits and elegant jewelry tend to emphasize the manner in which such products make one appear classy and successful, thereby appealing to wealthy and successful individuals more than to budget-conscious and practical people.