Maslow’s hierarchy of the need structure is the most widely accepted list of basic needs, a detailed knowledge of which is necessary for any advertiser. However, others have also given their own classification. Combs and Snygg are of the opinion that there is only one basic need – the need for maintaining or enhancing one’s self-concept. Berelson and Stenier have given a list of primary and secondary human needs. The primary needs are physiological ones based on the biological functioning of every human being. The secondary needs, according to them, are those which are acquired or learnt, and are not necessary for the basic biological functioning of an individual.
The primary needs include:
(i) Supply Motives: Hunger and thirst.
(ii) Avoidance Motives: Avoidance of pain, fear, harm and other negative consequences.
(iii) Species-maintaining Motives: Reproduction, mating and nutritive motives.
The secondary needs include:
(i) Acquired or Learned: It is believed that secondary needs are learned because of the satisfaction of primary needs. One learns that one can better satisfy one’s hunger-and-thirst need by acquiring property and other possessions;
(iii) Affiliation needs.
The following conclusions may now be drawn:
(i) Unsatisfied needs are motivators of behavior and satisfied needs are not.
(ii) Much of human behavior is motivated by subconscious and unconscious needs. These are needs we do not or cannot consciously admit to ourselves. For example, in one of the ads of “Sir Shirts,” it was said: “This is the MAN SIR is made for.” A handsome man, together with his lovely girl, is shown in the picture. Man has an unsatisfied (and unconscious) need for exhibiting himself as a “he” man to his sweetheart. Wearing a Sir Shirt is presumably a symbolic way of satisfying this unconscious need.
(iii) Generally, several needs operate simultaneously to cause a given behavior response; but only some needs are more important in behavior than others. These “key” needs should be identified and appealed to, directly and indirectly in the advertising message.