Posted: March 29th, 2022

Persuasion Theories in Advertisement

Persuasion Theories in Advertisement


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Persuasion theories


O’Malley gives four frameworks, which advertising appeal can be designed. They include persuasion oriented, sales oriented, salience oriented, and involvement oriented similar to Halls framework. The framework starts with brand awareness by customers, to make them recognize or recall a brand to keep them aware (Knowledge Marketing, 2012, p 100). Salience involves differentiation of the brand with others; then the product trial is promoted by encouraging consumers to start using the brand. To achieve a relative positioning against the competition within a category, competitive brands are compared to their brand. The consumer negative perceptions are then changed in brand re-evaluation. Informal content is then provided to eliminate perceived risk of purchase. At this point, the target audience is encouraged to participate and engage in the advertising activities (Blythe and Zimmerman, 2005, p 223). When the audience is encouraged, appealing, and transformational needs is communicated to reach the emotional needs of the target audience. Flexibility is the last stage where the advertising content is varied without changing the consistence of the message (Dahlen, 2010, p 300; Weitz and Vensley, 2002, p 299).


O’Malley argues that transparency is essential to a client but sometimes it may not be sufficient. At times, a client’s interest may lie on seeing a fact, or a set of facts. He argues that where a client’s culpability is low the best strategy can be the path of accuracy, truth, integrity and honesty. He also argues that one should be selective in the information to be given to the public; there should be selective presentation of information and practice secrecy to further the clients’ interests (Marlin, 2002, p 187). During the persuasion stage, people develop negative or positive attitudes. This comes from having the mental knowledge and trying to apply to situations. It is a thought process people go through, and it helps them in formulating perception of the innovation, or it is like trying the innovation. Once people have knowledge of innovation and have developed an attitude towards it, they are in a decision-making position of using it or not. This stage people engage in activities that adopt or reject the innovation, and this is similar to trans- theoretical model. If trial results are positive, it means innovation will be integrated into the individual’s lifestyle (Bly, 1998, p 8).




Hall (1992) suggests four frameworks that can be used in advertising. Persuasion is one of the frameworks which aim at moving buyers through a sequence of steps. It involves sales which pass messages of the shift of product and makes the consumers respond directly to the advertisement. The framework also involves salience and involvement, where they are involved in an emotional response and salience where there is a conspicuous presentation. The heightened appreciation model helps to determine an advertising strategy, and suggests that by using consumer research to identify key products and link them to a brand. The consumer is able to associate with attributes of the brand similar to O’Malley theory (Wood, 2006, p 6). Prue’s model suggests that advertising from a consumer’s perception helps in customer appreciation. The theory suggests that Interest is stimulated by brand recognition, and persuasive communication makes an impact that eventually changes the customer perceptions of the brand, and attributes are also changed.


Other theories


Hovland Janis and Kelly, have a theory called cognitive responses, with the notion that persuasion is dependent on the extent to which message recipients learn. They also believe that the level of persuasion depends on ideas conveyed and beliefs about the ideas. This view is rejected by information-processing perspective spawned theory. Cognitive response theory is the process where people relate message content to other material and compare through a cognitive response. This theory helps us to understand the process through which we can mediate persuasion. It also helps us to see why sometimes people are persuaded without any relevant message content.


Resource matching theory considers both a supply of cognitive resources that a message requires for it to be thoroughly processed. The theory implies that persuasion is a function of commensurability between supply and demand for cognitive resources. Beisecker and Person (1972) view persuasion as an attitude change, they say that persuasion is the modification of ones attitude through exposure to information (Meyer and Malaviya, 2006, p 45).


Persuasion principles


Different industries and professions need persuasion because it is helpful in making others adopt an idea. Many people believe that they cannot be bought, but they can be persuaded. For this reason, many smart professionals use the art of persuasion to do what they want rather than using sales for marketing and its related dynamics (Kitchen, 2004, p 8). Persuasion involves using psychology techniques to make a message more believable and credible. The following principles should be used for people to adopt your ideas with ease (Shelby, 1986, p 5). It includes aiming at a narrow target. Persuade the listener on the crucial points that will capture their attention. It is not wise to dump all the information on the listener, but picking the most salient points to give can be extremely useful. One can also note the listener’s point of interest according to their questions, and concentrate on them (O’Shaughnessy & Henneberg, 2002, p 241).


Stories can be used to convey a message, because they can be particularly appropriate in conveying a message. When using stories as a persuasion tool, stories related to your concept should be used. The story should include how using your idea will be like, feel like, and the new experience they will discover while using your idea. Another principle that should be kept in mind is using a third or second party quote; this is helpful while trying to prove the truthfulness of your idea. The only disadvantage of this principle is that it cannot be used when telling something which is not true. Pacing and lead should also be used when telling your point; this involves trying to prove two true things to the listener. An excellent example can be, we are offering the lowest prices and we also give items as discount. The third piece of information must be reasonable, and this technique cannot be used to tell false information (Anderson et al., 2010, p 1).


In consumer persuasion, there are two key factors involved; they include automatic evaluations, which can change, from verbal additions through communication. The other factor involves ensuring such messages result in change that is in balance with the balance principles. Attitudes are evaluations people have regarded the objects and things around them (Hayden, 2009). The evaluations or attitudes can be assessed when people are asked about their preferences. Such measures are useful in generation of consumer insight on their behaviors. Perkins et al. (2008) found that implicit measure can be used in predicting consumer preference and brand recognition (O’Keefe, 2002, p 19). The measures can also be used to determine consumer usage and discriminate consumer preferences for competing brands. The main issues relevant to consumer persuasion are examinations of automatic evaluations that can change directly or indirectly in response to additional information processed deliberately (Harcajo et al., 2010, p 941).




Persuasion is a psychology principle involving the emotions and perceptions of consumers and can be successful in marketing. Social proof is a crucial factor as it encourages emulative or imitative behavior of a brand. Because of human behavior to create ties, we tend to adopt ourselves to previous actions committing us to a brand loyalty locking us into purchase, despite persuasion to the contrary.




Anderson, S.P., Ciliberto, F & Liaukonyte, J. 2010. Information Content of Advertising: Theory and Empirical Evidence.


Bly, R.W. 1998. Business-to-Business Direct Marketing: Proven Direct Response Methods to Generate More Leads and Sales, Second Edition. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.


Blythe, J and Zimmerman, A.S. 2005. Business-to-Business Marketing Management: A Global Perspective. New York: Cengage Learning EMEA.


Dahlen, M.L. 2010. Marketing Communication: A Brand Narrative Approach. London: John Wiley and Sons.


Harcajo, J.B., Brinol, P & Petty, R.E. 2010. Consumer Persuasion: Indirect Change and Impicit Balance. Psychology And Marketing. Vol 27, Issue 10. Pp 938-963.


Hayden, J.A. 2009. Introduction to Health Behavior Theory. New Jersey: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.


Kitchen, P. 2004. Intergrated Marketing Communications: A Primer. Chicago: Cengage.


Knowledge Marketing. 2012. CIM Revision Cards . Atlanta: Routledge.


Marlin, R. 2002. Propaganda of Ethics and Persuasion. London: Broadview Press .


Meyers, J. And Malaviya, P. 2006. Consumers Processing Persuasive Advertisment. Journal of Marketing. Vol 63. Pp 45-60.


O’Keefe, D.J. 2002. Persuasion: Theory and Practice. Balton: SAGE.


O’Shaughnessy, N. J and Henneberg, S.C. 2002. The Idea of Political Marketing. Chicago: Green Publishing Group.


Shelby, A.N. 1986. A Theoritical Bases of Persuasion. Journal of Business Communication. Vol 23, Issue 1. Pp 5-29.


Weitz, B. A and Vensley, R. 2002. Handbook Of Marketing. Balton: SAGE.


Wood, G. 2006. CIM Revision Cards Marketing Communications. Atlanta: Routledge.

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