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Have you ever been influenced by others thoughts without being aware of it? That’s the dilemma of this modern digital world where few marketers use some psychological tricks to influence people’s decisions for their own benefits without caring about the consequences of it.
But you don’t have to worry at all here in this article I will expose all these tactics in easy to understand language to you, so that next time when you find yourself in a similar situation, you can easily recognize it and avoid yourself from getting influenced by it.
The specific term which is used to describe this tactic is “Propaganda“
So the detailed definition of propaganda is, It’s the spread of information which could be facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies to influence public opinions or perceptions, to promote or publicize a particular point of view.
There are a number of people around us like influencers, politicians, advertisers who use propaganda techniques to influence others. They use emotional and convincing means to derive the desired outcome from others.
What is Advertising Propaganda?
Propagandists have specified goals, to achieve that goal they present their facts, opinion, and arguments in the most effective way among the targeted group.
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Propaganda in advertising is the way to attract customers towards a product and change their views about other’s products. Advertisers mislead and even lie in order to divert the attention of their customers. They are less bothered about the interest of their customers. This is exactly where Sentiment Analysis can help to improve the customer experience.
In this article, we will discuss 7 types of propaganda techniques and how it controls your buying decisions.
We all are social animals, we live in a society so we must follow the fashion, customs, and trends prevailing in the society. It is not only a thought but a matter of prestige, If we go out of the stream, we may be “missed out”.
Bandwagon Propaganda plays on the idea and it targets the beliefs of a particular type of group and encourages them to do or follow what others are doing.
It is not necessary if something is good for one person will be good for all. But we are convinced in such a way, even non-essential things seem most essential to us.
How does advertisers take advantage of our beliefs?
Let’s understand with an example.
The Main message that Maybelline wants to convey through this advertisement is that Maybelline Great Lash Mascara is the largest selling mascara. After reading this line definitely, the thought will come in our mind if it is the most favorite, surely it is the best and must be better than what I use.
In this advertisement, Maybelline has also used patriotism as a tool, by claiming it as “America’s Favorite Mascara”.
This advertisement shows some unrealistic data. It claims that in every 1.7 seconds one tube of this Mascara is sold but how can It be proved?
We just want to use it because others are using it.
Here is another example that will help you to understand the essence of Bandwagon Propaganda.
This is an advertisement by Old Navy, the boy is going to school with his mom, his mom wants him to look decent with a formal outfit, but when they arrive at the school, the boy complains to his mom about his clothes and point her to the folks out their wearing a casual outfit, and says how cool it is to wear clothes like that.
Then his mom ask those folks about the brand of clothes and the price of it.
Basically, the intent of the ad is to convince people that if they want to belong to a certain group then they need to wear clothes from a certain brand.
Plain Folks Propaganda
What type of advertisement has a real impact on us?
Are we really convinced by celebrities or we feel more connected with the words of ordinary people like us?
The Plain Folks Propaganda uses ordinary people to promote the product. The aim is to show that the product is of value to all.
Imagine, if a product like a washing powder is promoted by a celebrity, will you be willing to buy that?
Even we all know these celebrities themselves must be unaware of the washing powder used at their home.
Let’s see an example of the Plain Folks Propaganda.
Subway uses Jared Fogle as a message to its customers that if you eat at Subway you can also lose weight.
It is true that Jared Fogle, an American former spokesperson has a significant weight loss due to eating solely at Subway.
Customers often relate with real-life examples, so does the Plain Folks Propaganda does.
Have a look look at this advertisement from JanSport, in this ad a common boy is shown and he is using their bag for his school day to day activities.
This will allow people to easily relate with guy from their own daily lifestyle and influence their decision making.
Testimonial Propaganda is a technique when a celebrity supports an idea or product as good or bad, to influence people’s opinions without letting them examining the facts more carefully.
It is a clever way of advertising used by companies to boost the demand for their product. Here is the video from which you can easily understand the concept of it.
As you all know Darek Graham is a popular rapper and singer, in reality, there is no correlation between his singing skills and Sprite. But in this ad, you can see how smartly advertisers showed the influence of sprite on his song.
While trying to compose a rap song he got stuck then after having a sip of sprite he immediately started singing. This is totally absurd in reality but due to the big influence of these celebrities on people’s lives, people tend to think that drinking sprite will have the same effect on them.
Customers feel that if celebrities and experts find any product good and are promoting that definitely, it will be good. No matter what is the quality and cost of the product, its sale is determined by the appeal of the celebrities.
In some advertisements experts like doctors recommend medicines, engineers promote cement and other building equipment. All these are strategies to influence the opinion of the targeted customers.
We think experts must have a better knowledge of these products than us. They can promote anything blindly, so we blindly trust them and go with what they offer.
Have a look at another advertisement to better understand, how does Testimonial propaganda work?
In this advertisement, a great scientist Albert Einstein is shown and he is telling that he eats Mentos. He is also asking others whether they eat the same or not?
We all know Albert Einstein was a scientist famous for his great inventions and ideas. So, if you want to get innovative ideas like Einstein you must eat Mentos.
There are a number of products like Mentos available in the market. They just refresh us but here Mentos claims that it not only refreshes but also charges up the mind. Surely it will be the first choice of customers.
Card Stacking Propaganda
Card Stacking Propaganda is the most widely used technique in advertising. In this technique, advertiser shows their product’s best features, and hide the negative ones by telling half-truth about the potential problems their product carry.
This is done by highlighting the important and positive facts about the product in an unfair manner.
Advertisers only use information that supports and promotes the product. In card-stacking, misleading and unprovable statistics are used to advertise the product.
This advertisement is a good example of Card-Stacking propaganda. The highlighted facts and figures make the advertisement look pleasing. Even the crispy fries are mouthwatering and make the viewers hungry to eat the fries just after seeing the advertisement.
In this advertisement, only the positive facts of the product are highlighted in bold but the real facts about the fries mentioned at the top are hard to read.
Words like the big taste and less fat are used to grab the attention of the viewers. It does not describe how big the taste is and 40% less fat is compared to what. It also does not mention the unhealthy effects of eating fries.
The below advertisement is from Vitress, in the beginning, they mentioned the challenges faced by women related to their hair, then they gave the solution to it by introducing their product.
But the truth is, if you give a closer look to the ingredients list you will find unnatural chemicals like Mineral oil, Petroleum jelly, Polyethylene glycol that can be detrimental to your overall health in long run.
But most of the common people are aware of these things that’s why few advertisers take advantage of it.
In this propaganda technique, advertisers use symbols or the things on which we have strong beliefs such as national flag, religious beliefs, and influential personalities to accept his idea by relating to it.
For example, we respect and are emotionally attached to our country and religion.
If an advertiser manages to relate his idea with our strongly held beliefs he will be able to charge you emotionally and easily convince you to accept his ideas.
Let’s try to understand this with an example.
Uncle Sam is a popular symbol of the American culture and He is used to triggering strong patriotic emotion throughout the nation.
So if a travel advertiser wants to make people agree that “X” destination is best for their vacation or try to create a negative image of “Y” destination he will use uncle Sam to influence the masses without judging the fact most of the people agree with because of deeply rooted emotion and belief in uncle Sam.
This is the legendary example of Transfer Propaganda used against the U.S. population to increase the sale of cigarettes
First this propaganda used against men by doing advertisements in top national magazines of the U.S. It made smoking a status symbol that increased the sale of cigarettes.
But cigarettes wasn’t smoked by women’s because it was seenas a taboo
The concept behind this strategy was to tie an irrational belief with their desired goal which was to make women’s convinced about cigarette smoking.
With the help of psychoanalyst Edward Bernays “Torches of Freedom campaign” changed the history on cigarettes in the U.S.
The advertisers use Name-calling propaganda to promote the product which has strong competition with other products. Two products with the same quality, popularity, and demand in the market, so they need to attract the customer from the other side.
In the Name-calling technique, a person or product is linked to a negative symbol. Few words that are used commonly radical, cowardly, environmentalist, and special-interest g.roup.
By using this technique advertisers think that audience will reject the person, product, or idea based on the negative symbol assigned to it, instead of looking at the facts.
The propagandists use this technique hoping the person or product will be rejected on the negative symbol, despite looking at its positive sides.
Let’s look at this advertisement, to understand how advertisers use Name-Calling Propaganda to influence the beliefs of people.
This is an advertisement by Android. This symbol is self-explanatory in that it is about Apple Company. But without taking its name Android wants to communicate to its customers, whatever features Apple offers is useless. Only Android is trustworthy.
The decision is yours, whether you want to buy a costly rotten Apple or go with an affordable Android.
This is the old advertisement by Pespi in this video they are trying to devaluing the Coca cola.
Glittering Generalities Propaganda
Just as the Name-Calling propaganda used to present a good idea as a bad one, Glittering generality is a propaganda technique that combines words that do not mean anything but sound good to the reader and listener.
Advertisers use strong and attractive words like change, cheap, hope, healthy to get a positive response from the customers.
But do we really get what the product offers in the advertisement?
McDonald’s is well known for its marketing and advertising its products. Through advertisements, they try best to connect with their customers.
In the picture above the phrase,” Creamy”, “Dreamy”, “Icy”, “Chocolatey” is used to emotionally appeal to the customers. These words definitely attract the customers to the delicious looking iced cafe mocha.
Advertising propaganda techniques have lots of negative effects on our society. For example, if an overweight person watches commercials with false claims of weight reduction in a few weeks, this will lead to imaginary expectations which end up in frustration and depression.
It is the business for advertisers to use one or the other propaganda to promote the product and attract more and more buyers to make as much profit as possible.
But you can save yourself from this influences by making decisions based on your own research about products and services before committing to them.
Self-education is the cure to this issue so that you don’t depend upon the media for knowing what is best for you. And I think in this digital age if you have access to the internet then you can easily find out what is best for you.
The ultimate decision is ours. It is we who will choose the right and good product which will match our needs and purchasing power.
Be smart and choose wisely, after all it’s all about your money.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of propaganda?
There are many standard techniques used in propaganda and persuasion most common type of them are:
- Plain folks
Apart from that stereotyping, fear appeals, bad logic, and unwarranted extrapolation also quite common.
What is the difference between advertising and propaganda?
Advertising is the process of influencing people buying decisions by running ad campaigns for particular products and services provided by businesses.
It is done in a persuasive manner means it compels the viewer to take the desired action and make them agree with your ad. Its main purpose is to attract new customers to increase profit.
Whereas propaganda is the spread of information which could be facts, arguments, rumors, half-truths, or lies to influence public opinions or perceptions, to promote a particular point of view.
How propaganda in advertising affects people lives?
The media is full of thin, beautiful people with flawless skin and trim bodies, and false claims. This leads people to assume that if they aren’t able to appear like that they wouldn’t be accepted by this society.
Poor self-esteem makes people depressed now most people lost trust in mass media they tend to find out by themselves before buying any product or service. If we observe around propaganda harms our society and this ignorance can be removed only by self-education.