Advertisement has been around since the Industrial Revolution. Once the manufacturing started, the sale of the manufactured items was the next big problem. Hence, the advertisement, where the produced product was brought into the limelight with all its benefits enumerated along with it. What started with posters and newspaper columns has now turned into such a mammoth marketing strategy that brands spend more than half their marketing budget on digital ads only. Last year in 2022, the USA alone spent as much as 66.64 billion U.S. dollars on television advertising only. According to Germany-based data gathering and visualization online platform, Statista, this budget is expected to decrease this year, i.e., 2023 to 61.31 billion U.S. dollars as brands are switching to social media advertising, as they have realized the potential of these platforms in targeting their audience.
The advertising medium might be in a transition phase but the tactics of advertising are still the same. With the intent to entice potential customers into buying their products, every business and brand out there is making the most of ad propaganda so they get noticed more than anything.
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What is Advertising Propaganda?
Although advertising and propaganda are two different things, they are often used together to achieve the brands’ aim to persuade their target audience into buying their products or services. Under this need-of-the-hour scheme, brands try to persuade, and to some extent, control the public opinion about something and eventually influence their purchase behavior. There are different types of propaganda techniques that are so common and known around the world that it has been categorized into scores of categories. Here is a dissection of some common ones…
1. Bandwagon Effect
It is basically playing on your FOMO- the fear of missing out on what the majority is not just being a part of but also enjoying it to the core. Under this strategy, brands amplify this message among their target audience that “this product or service is meant for everyone, a whole majority of people is using it, and so should you.” Playing on people’s FOMO is also very common in this digital age.
2. Bank on Fear
Everybody knows that fear is the biggest motivator for the masses to make them do anything. And by now, even brands have realized the potential of fear to persuade their target audience to make a purchase decision in their favor. For example, the brand might tell you the negative effect of not using its offerings, which may evoke anxiety among those people who come across that ad.
3. Card Stacking
This strategy involves a selective omission of facts where a product or service’s negative attributes or impacts are usually hidden from the audience, highlighting only the good and positive characteristics. The hidden points work like a blind spot that we as an audience never notice and get attracted toward the highlighted part of it. For example, soda companies offer zero-sugar beverages, calling it a healthy alternative, when in actuality, it isn’t.
4. Emotional Aspect
Hitting the emotional chord of the target audience is one of the oldest propaganda strategies that is still the brand’s favorite. Inculcating happiness, sympathy, nostalgia, sadness, or other factors into the ad is something we have seen so far and they are still working like magic.
5. Glittering Generalities
In this technique, vague but positive words or phrases are used to create a favorable impression among the audience regarding a particular brand’s offerings. People also happen to find this ‘feel good’ phrase, tempting and they are able to relate to it more as they hold the notion close to their personal belief. A slogan is quite a fitting example of this. McDonald‘s I’m Lovin’ It is another interesting catchphrase that now people actually believe that they love McDonald’s.
Gone are the days of celebrities being the brand ambassadors of a product or service and convincing people to invest in that brand. Now genuine customer reviews and testimonials have that credibility to it that a potential customer might find reliable and true. It doesn’t necessarily have to promote a product by naming it evidently. It can also be a story about the product or service that connects well with the brand message as well as persuades people to have a positive image of it.
7. Not So Redundant Repetition
It is as simple and effective as its name suggests. It is a world-renowned phenomenon that whenever you come across a term time and again, the message gets engraved in your mind. It is an effective way to drive a product into the consciousness of the target audience. The human brain is capable of remembering patterns and factual information in a manner that you will be surprised and the brands have cracked that code. That’s why they are banking on repetition propaganda techniques.
8. Power of Patriotism
It has become very easy for brands to integrate the patriotic aspect in their branding approach. Such propaganda strategy evokes a sense of pride in the brand offering. And in order to get validation for their loyalty toward the nation and its initiatives, proud citizens tend to get attracted to the brand as well. It could be the struggle for national freedom, the sense of being a person of culture, or anything else that strikes at the right place.
9. Plain Folks
When a brand emphasizes being one among the masses, just like their target audience, that is known as Plain Folks propaganda. In this advertising scenario, the advertiser wants to prove that it is in touch with the common people and their lifestyle. When the brand portrays a celebrity like a common man, the literal common man, i.e., the brand’s target audience feels a connection with him or her and develops a sense of belongingness with that brand.
In the end, it comes upon the audience’s shoulders to make a decision based on their own analogies and assumptions, without being swayed by these advertising propagandas. However, the world of advertising and marketing is not always about attracting potential customers using twisted ways. Being one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the USA, we at SkyTrust make sure that your desired goal is achieved using genuine ways and without compromising your brand integrity.
Join forces with us and take that leap of faith with SkyTrust!