There are several advertisements that use fear appeal as a way of getting people to purchase the products being advertised. The product may be a good or a service. The advertisements in question usually instill fear into Target Audience because it is generally known that when someone is afraid that something could happen to them, they can do anything to prevent that from happening.
Advertisements for road safety measures is one of such examples. In this approach, the advertisers use gory scenes of accidents to scare the audience and make them want to avoid being involved in such a situation. They may use for example, dead passengers. They may also show how the people involved in an accident had were badly injured, with broken limbs and others totally disabled from the accident. When the audience sees these kind of scenes, they would never want to travel without their safety seat belts on. For drivers, they would want to avoid driving while they are drunk, and would also avoid over-speeding. Additionally, drivers will be able to watch out for and adhere to road signs, and avoid overtaking other vehicles. The audience would not want to imagine being involved in a road accident, and most are the times you might hear people reminding their loved ones to "don't forget your safety belt, please". People develop that fear of having to lose their loved ones, or being the ones to be lying on the road side, dead after the next accident. These road safety measures advertisements are very effective in that people develop a sense of fear and caution from deep within, because anyone would be cautious whenever their lives are at stake. People therefore become keen to follow road safety measure to avoid such cases, and through this, road accidents are reduced thus, thus making the advertisement and effective one.
The second fear sell advertisement is adverts for gyms and products for weight loss, and good dietary. These make use of bad shape pictures such as obese people; adults and kids. They may also show slides of possible future diseases that may result out of lack of healthy bodies. These advertisements may instill fear in a desirable way of jealousy too. For instance, they might photos of men with abs, "six packs", ladies with flat tummies and so on. In addition, they might show how men admire ladies with flat tummies, and how ladies lust for men with abs and "six-pack" figures. This creates jealousy in fat and out of shape people and they develop some fear of losing such opportunities. They admire being like such men and ladies, and getting such admiration from the opposite sexes. This kind of jealousy is a form of fear, and gets people to engage in body fitness practice. They therefore look for gyms and trainers, and mostly, they visit the gym that did the advertisement.
Still on the issue of healthy body, companies other than gyms also use this kind of fear on people to get them to buy their products. Companies advertising products such as spleener and chlorophyll among others, instill fear on people by showing how their colon and intestines look like due to blockage by fats and other food substances, and how such people need these products to solve their problems. These advertisements also show excessively fat people and even exaggerate their shape to present it in a way that no one would want to have such a figure. They then insist on how use of some products (such as those mentioned above), would reduce their body fats and cholesterol and give them an admirable shape. This advertisement causes fear on people when they imagine having body shapes like the ones shown in the advert slides. The audience also imagines how their colon might be at that time of the advert, and this makes them want to have such a product because they would want to avoid the consequences of having a "dirty colon". Likewise, by showing transformative presentation slides or pictures of people who used these products, they get into the audience' minds and make them desire to have such changes. This desire comes with fear of what would happen if one does not use such a product. The reason for this fear vis because human mind is engineered in a way that any kind of information that is contrary to how a person is, brings doubt by the person whether they could be victims of such situations. From such an advert, some fear develops, especially if they have experienced something close to what the advertisement is presenting.
Food product advertisements too use the element of good diet to get more customers onboard. As said before, human beings develop fear whenever they feel something they have not been doing threatens their life, either today or their lives tomorrow. On this regard, people are generally informed that lack of good diet may increase chances of bad health and weak bodies. No one desires to be in such a situation of course. Companies therefore make sure to use advertisements that would lead the audience to purchase their products so as to maintain a good diet. Not only companies, but also health practitioners do that. they advise people on what to take to maintain good health. People do not need to be told what would happen if they did not have a balanced diet, because it is already figured out in their minds. For instance, some adverts have displayed phrases like this; "Do we want our children to live healthy? Let's feed them healthy food". Such a phase automatically puts fear into a parent, especially mothers, and they will strive to ensure they watch on their children's diet (Aljenan, 0:11-15). This advertisement is effective because it gets people to be keen on what they eat. This way, people start maintaining good eating habits.
Another advertisement is that of soaps and body cosmetics. A good example is use of rashes and pimples to warn people from buying soaps and beauty products that may cause such. The advertising company promises the audience that their products will clear the rashes and pimples. Such products could be medicated soaps such as Dettol antiseptic. In such advertisement, they use a girl with pimples for example, who uses the product being advertised and then after sometime she realizes that the pimples have cleared. When she had pimples, she scared away even her classmates, especially boys, but now that her face is clear, she is so attractive that those who used to avoid her smile at her whenever they see her. This advertisement introduces fear to an audience such as young girls, especially if they have rashes or pimples, and will go looking for such a product to solve their issue so as to avoid this predicament. The advert is effective as it shows the effect of having say pimples, and then later shows a girl with no pimples after using the product being advertised. It shows a problem and presents the product as the solution.
Another fear sale is that of vaccinations such as vaccination against polio. There are is this video used in one of the T.V advertisements in Kenya, of a crippled man in a wheel chair. The man gives a testimony of how his mother did not take him for immunization against polio. In this advert, the government appeals to people to take their children for polio vaccination. In the clip, this man also urges his fellow citizens to take their children to the nearest hospital facilities for the vaccination. He regrets that "if my mother could have taken me for polio vaccination...". (Keffa, Video file). The advert is very moving but it as well gets people to fear having their children, relatives and a loved one be on a wheel chair. This makes most parents take their children for the vaccination. The advertisement is very effective in that by using a disabled man in a wheel chair, it creates fear in many parents and even relatives of young ones. Naturally, no one would want to be on a wheelchair, and therefore people are compelled to ensure their children are immunized against polio. Adults not immunized before are also become afraid and they go seeking for the vaccine. The use of disabled people on wheelchairs has also been used in Nigeria and India, and has a great fear impact on the audience.
Lastly, the advertisement by tooth paste brands also uses fear to increase their sales volumes. They may use "tooth aching" to show how effective and protective their toothpaste is. For instance, Colgate has used this fear-psychology to get more into the market. They have used an exhibit of a child whose tooth was aching. The child's name is Mary. In the middle of a class lesson the teacher notices that Mary has not been concentrating. The teacher, who is a female then enquires to know why, and one of the children tells the teacher that Mary's tooth is aching. The teacher then asks why the tooth is aching. After several responses from the class, the teacher then tells them that the tooth is aching because Mary does not use Colgate to brush her teeth. This of course leaves the children wondering what could happen if they did not use Colgate for brushing their teeth. Following such advert, parents may get afraid that their children might experience tooth-aches if they failed to use Colgate. This makes the audience develop some level of confidence on Colgate, and consequently build trust on the product. Other brands such as Pepsodent have also used fear in their ads. For instance, there was a time one of the adverts claimed that "millions of women are using the new method of teeth cleansing and you could see pretty teeth everywhere. Why would any woman have dingy coating on her teeth? Use Pepsodent". The use of a phrase like 'dingy coating' makes the audience shy away from the 'old ways' and might want to try Pepsodent. This is fear sale in a form of social proof fear psychology. The advertisement is effective since it gets the audience scared of having 'dingy coating' on their teeth, and then offers them a solution if they used Pepsodent.
JomanAljenan; Healthy foods advertisement [Video file].
Keffa; Polio Victim Urges Kenyans to accept Vaccine. [Video Clip]
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