As we get back to our hero, “Direct Marketing Doc,” he reminded us last week that people not only want to gain things, they also want to avoid the loss of what they already have.
The motivation to avoid loss is often stronger than the motivation to acquire something. Some of the things people seek to avoid are:
* Offense to others
* Domination by others
* Loss of reputation
Avoiding embarrassment is an example of a strong emotional appeal that powers much modern advertising. Years ago, most people bathed less frequently, once a week or even less. Soap manufacturers used the embarrassment appeal to alter American society’s view of proper social etiquette so that most people now bathe or shower once a day.
In addition to seeking gains and avoiding losses, people also strive to act, or at least to be seen by others as acting, in certain ways. For example, people like to:
* Express a unique personality
* Satisfy curiosity
* Act or appear like a heroic figure
* Attract the opposite sex
* Improve themselves physically, mentally, or spiritually
* Gain affection of others
* Be accepted into social circles
* Create and live up to a reputation
* Fulfill personal obligations
* Create or accomplish things to be proud of
* Reward themselves
* Protect themselves from harm
Years ago, advertisers sold paint-by-number sets to people who couldn’t paint but who nevertheless wanted the feeling of creating a work of art. This clever product satisfied the need to create something to be proud of. The same emotional appeal is used today to sell gardening products to those who want a beautiful lawn and flower beds.
People also enjoy feeling that they are special in some way. More specifically, they wish to “be seen” as something special. This is related to some of the previous appeals, such as expressing a unique personality or gaining prestige. It’s such a strong motivator, though, that it is used in a variety of ways by savvy advertisers.
Let me read your stories. Do you follow any guidelines before you start to write your copy? Do you use design to accentuate a negative? What works best for your company?