Rational vs Emotional Appeals in Advertising

The Power of Rational vs Emotional Appeals in Advertising

When it comes to marketing, making a strong emotional appeal is often thought to be more effective than appealing to people’s rational side. However, using only emotional appeals can be ineffective and damage a company’s reputation. Therefore, it’s essential to understand when it is appropriate to use rational and emotional appeals in communications and how to make the most of each type.

This article will explore the different types of advertising appeals, when rational appeals are appropriate, and when emotional appeals are more effective. We’ll also look at examples of successful ad campaigns that used each type of appeal.

Advertising Appeals

Advertising is vital for businesses of all sizes. It allows companies to reach new customers, increase brand awareness, and boost sales. When creating an advertising campaign, choosing the right type of appeal is essential to reach your target audience.

Advertising appeals lie in the messages advertisers use to persuade consumers to purchase their product or service. There are two popular types of advertising appeals: rational and emotional. For example, an ad for a new car might use the emotional appeal of feeling safe on the road. Alternatively, an ad for a financial service might use the rational appeal of saving money.

Rational and Emotional Advertising Appeals

Marketing communication mix is all about communicating your products. Developing effective communication depends on understanding the target audience, determining the objective of the communication, designing the message, selecting the communication channel, and so on. Among these activities, the quality of content is the most important thing.

Designing the advertising content depends on other factors of marketing communication. However, one thing is a must – keeping appeal in the content. Rational and emotional advertising appeals are the most used appeals in marketing. Both of those appeals have their areas of dominance.

Rational Appeals in Advertising

Rational advertising is a type of advertising that uses rational appeal to persuade the consumer. This type of advertising is often used to sell products that are seen as being practical or useful, such as kitchen appliances or cars. Rational advertising uses facts and logic to appeal to the consumer’s sense of reason.

What is Rational Appeal?

Rational advertising is based on logic and aims to appeal to the consumer’s practical reasoning side. Rational communication is informational in nature. To create rational appeal, you need to show the features, (competitive) advantages, and benefits (FAB) of the product. It often uses statistics or comparisons to back up claims. Here the functionality and other practical aspects are communicated to sell the product.

When are Rational Appeals Appropriate?

Rational advertising uses logical arguments and factual evidence to appeal to the consumer’s sense of reason. Rational appeals are effective in the following cases:

  1. Industrial products: If the product is used for production, then the rational appeal is the effective element in communication. For example, industrial machines. 
  2. Products having unique features: Some products have something unique to offer. Then marketing communication can highlight those unique features. For example, a steel manufacturer will boost its certification of durability.
  3. Business buyers: In most cases, purchase decisions in businesses are made based on the comparison of available options. There is no space for emotion here. For example, laptops are sold to a company’s employees.
  4. Innovative product: Companies spend a huge amount on research and development. The innovation creates big differentiation in market attention. For example, Samsung promoted their foldable phones.
  5. Differentiating products: When the industry is not new, people are aware of the problem and the options (products) available in the market to solve their problem. Hence, we need to differentiate our product from many competitors. Rational appeal can be one of the ways to differentiate our products.
  6. In the Action Phase of the AIDA Model: In the first phase of the AIDA model, we need to get the target audience’s attention. In the end, when we need to influence a mature audience to take purchase action, rational appeals help. In that phase, rational appeals support the audience to ensure they make the right decision in purchasing the product.
  7. Necessity: Rational advertising is most effective when you are trying to sell a product or service that is seen as a necessity, such as food or healthcare.

Example of Product for Using Rational Advertising Appeals

Product for which I would make a rational appeal: ERP Software

Justification:

  1. Businesses are the ideal customers for ERP software. Any company would compare other options before making a decision.
  2. ERP software is a big investment for any company. So, the company would take more time to judge the product-related facts.
  3. There are many ERP providers in the market. To differentiate our product from the companies, we need to highlight its uniqueness.
  4. Selling ERP software requires several face-to-face discussions, demo sessions, and price negotiations. The rational appeal will help win the deal in each of these steps.

Example of rational appeal in advertising

A good example of rational advertising is a commercial for an SUV. The commercial might show the SUV driving on different terrains, such as on a dirt road or in the snow. It might also list the different features of the SUV, such as four-wheel drive, a V- eight engines, and towing capacity. The commercial might also show the SUV used in different situations, such as carrying a family on vacation or towing a boat. The goal of the commercial is to show the viewer how the SUV can be useful in their life.

Emotional Appeals in Advertising

Emotional advertising is the type of advertising that uses emotional appeal to persuade the consumer. This type of advertising is often used to sell products that are seen as desirable, such as luxury items or experiences. Emotional advertising generally uses Positive emotions like happiness or love to appeal to the consumer’s sense of emotion.

What is Emotional Appeal?

Emotional appeal refers to the psychological aspects of selling a product. The most common emotional appeals are safety, security, fear, hope, love, prestige, nostalgia, etc. The emotional appeal is more likely to persuade a person who is not thinking rationally.

When are Emotional Appeals Appropriate?

Emotional appeals are effective in the following cases:

  1. Beauty products: Here, the end consumers do not make a comparison sheet to buy everything. For example, cosmetics products.
  2. Convenience products: People spend the least amount of time buying convenience products. Therefore, earlier exposure to emotional appeal helps the consumer take immediate action. For example, purchasing soap at the grocery shop.
  3. Lack of differentiation: When all the competitors are selling somewhat the same product features, there is no option to differentiate in terms of facts. Then the product differentiates based on emotional appeals. For example, packaged rice sellers.
  4. In the Attention phase of the AIDA model: Emotion is a great tool to get attention and register the desired message in the audience’s mind.

Example of Product for Using Emotional Advertising Appeals 

Product for which I would make an emotional appeal: Beauty Soap.

Justification:

  1. Beauty soap is a convenience product. People do not compare one brand with other options.
  2. The difference between regular soap and beauty soap is the emotional appeal to beauty-conscious people.
  3. There is no option to differentiate the product from competitors’ products in terms of rational aspects. So emotional appeal will help in positioning the brand.
  4. Celebrity endorsement will help in gaining the attention of the target audience. They will relate their admiration for the celebrity to the product’s performance.

Example of emotional appeal in advertising

A good example of emotional advertising is a commercial for a beauty soap. The commercial might show a beautiful woman using the soap and the woman’s skin looking soft and glowing. The commercial might also use a celebrity endorsement to show that the soap is used by people who are admired. The goal of the commercial is to show the viewer how soap can make them feel more beautiful.

Difference Between Rational and Emotional Appeal

Here are a few key differences between rational and emotional appeal in marketing communication:

  1. The rational appeal is based on logic and reason, while the emotional appeal is based on feelings and emotions.
  2. Rational appeal is often used to sell products or services based on practical needs, such as food, shelter, or clothing. Emotional appeal is often used to sell products or services that are based on more emotional needs, such as beauty, luxury, or self-improvement.
  3. Rational appeal typically focuses on the features of a product or service, while emotional appeal typically focuses on the benefits.
  4. The rational appeal can be used to convince people to make a logical decision, while emotional appeal can be used to convince people to make an emotional decision.

Rational and emotional appeals can be effective when used together, with the rational appeal providing the facts and figures and the emotional appeal motivating to act on those facts and figures.

Types of Rational Appeals in Advertising

Three main types of rational appeals are often used in advertising:

1. Logical:

This type of appeal is based on logic and reasoning. It is designed to convince people to make decisions by presenting facts and figures. For example, an ad for a new car might use a logical appeal by highlighting the features of the car that make it superior to other models on the market.

2. Testimonial:

A testimonial is a form of rational appeal that uses the testimony of others to support a product or service. In many cases, testimonials are from experts or celebrities who have experience with the product or service. For example, an ad for a new skincare product might feature a testimonial from a well-known dermatologist.

3. Statistical:

This type of rational appeal uses data and statistics to support a claim. In many cases, statistical appeals are used to show that a product is effective or safe. For example, an ad for a new weight loss pill might use statistical data to show that the pill is effective in helping people lose weight.

While rational appeals can be effective, they are often not as persuasive as emotional appeals. This is because people usually make decisions based on their emotions rather than logic. For this reason, many advertisers use a mix of both rational and emotional appeals in their marketing communications.

Types of Emotional Appeals in Advertising

Four main types of emotional appeals are often used in advertising:

1. Fear:

This emotional appeal is designed to create fear in the viewer or reader to get them to take action. For example, a fear-based ad might try to convince people to buy a product by showing them the consequences of not using it.

2. Guilt:

Another strong emotion is feeling guilt. This type of emotional appeal is designed to make the viewer or reader feel guilty to get them to take action. For example, convincing people to donate money to a charity by showing them the plight of those who are less fortunate.

3. Pride:

Who doesn’t feel energized with pride? This appeal makes the viewer feel proud to get them to take action. For example, encouraging people to buy a product shows them how it can benefit their community.

4. Love:

Last but not least, emotion is love. Love as an appeal makes the audience take the desired action. For example, show how a product can benefit your family or friends.

While emotional appeals can be effective in getting people to take action, they should be used carefully to avoid being manipulative or exploitative.

Related Articles:

Conclusion

Almost every form of communication that we encounter in our lives has some form of appeal. Advertisers always look for new ways to connect with their audience, from the commercials we watch on TV to the posters we see in the subway. So what works best for your business- appealing to the head or the heart?

Rational and emotional advertising appeals are different, and they can be used in different cases. But, in many cases, those emotions are combined to get the best outcome. For example, the introductory presentation of ERP software can show the frustration of an entrepreneur in managing his/her business without ERP. Thus, both the rational benefits of ERP can be described with emotional aspects – success vs. failure or frustration vs. relaxed emotion of an entrepreneur.

Though there can be a debate on rational vs. emotional appeals in advertising, the wise use of these two types of appeals brings the best result in marketing communication. Whatever you do, just never give up.