Many different appeals can be used as the basis for advertising messages. At the
broadest level, these approaches are generally broken into two categories: informational/rational appeals and emotional appeals. In this section, we focus on ways to
use rational and emotional appeals as part of a creative strategy. We also consider
how rational and emotional appeals can be combined in developing the advertising message.
Informational/rational appeals focus on
the consumer’s practical, functional, or utilitarian need for the product or service and
emphasize features of a product or service and/or the benefits or reasons for owning
or using a particular brand. The content of these messages emphasizes facts, learning,
and the logic of persuasion. Rational-based appeals tend to be informative, and
advertisers using them generally attempt to convince consumers that their product or
service has a particular attribute(s) or provides a specific benefit that satisfies their
needs. Their objective is to persuade the target audience to buy the brand because it
is the best available or does a better job of meeting consumers’ needs.
Many rational motives can be used as the basis for advertising
appeals, including comfort, convenience, economy, health, and sensory benefits such as touch, taste, and smell. Other rational motives
or purchase criteria commonly used in advertising include quality,
dependability, durability, efficiency, efficacy, and performance.
The particular features, benefits, or evaluative criteria that are
important to consumers and can serve as the basis of an informational/rational appeal vary from one product or service category to
another as well as among various market segments.
Weilbacher identified several types of advertising appeals
that fall under the category of rational approaches, among them
feature, competitive advantage, price, news, and product/service
Emotional appeals relate to the customers’
social and/or psychological needs for purchasing a product or service.
Many consumers’ motives for their purchase decisions are emotional,
and their feelings about a brand can be more important than knowledge of its features or attributes. Advertisers for many products and services view rational,
information-based appeals as dull. Many advertisers believe appeals to consumers’
emotions work better at selling brands that do not differ markedly from competing
brands, since rational differentiation of them is difficult.4
Many feelings or needs can serve as the basis for advertising appeals designed to
influence consumers on an emotional level These appeals
are based on the psychological states or feelings directed to the self (such as pleasure
or excitement), as well as those with a more social orientation (such as status or
Combining Rational and Emotional Appeals
In many advertising
situations, the decision facing the creative specialist is not whether to choose an
emotional or a rational appeal but, rather, determining how to combine the two
approaches. Consumer purchase decisions are often made on the basis of both emotional and
rational motives, and attention must be given to both elements in developing effective advertising. Purchase decisions regarding services can also be based on both
rational and emotional motives.
George E. Belch (Author), Michael A. Belch (Author)