Negative Emotional Appeals in Advertising

An advertiser may try to induce a particular behavioral change by emphasizing either positive or negative appeals, or a combination of both. For example, an advertising campaign to get the target audience to buy fire insurance may stress the positive aspect -low cost relative to other investment, the services the insurance company provides, early settlement of claims, and so on; or it may stress the negative aspect of not getting insurance – the danger of losing one’s possessions or the ravages of fire. Positive appeals use the strategy of “reducing” a person’s anxiety about “buying and using” a product, while negative appeals use the strategy of “increasing” a person’s anxiety about “not using” a product or service. In general, a positive appeal stresses the positive gains to a person from complying with the persuasive message; the negative appeal stresses his loss if he fails to comply.