Fear In Advertising Part 2: Examples Of Advertising Through Fear

In yesterday’s post, What Is Fear In Advertising (opens in a new window), I gave you kind of a definition of the problem I see with using fear through advertising, why it works, what it is, and a few other take home points.

In today’s example I’m going to actually give you a few examples so you know exactly what I mean.

Examples Of Fear In Advertising – Religion

Which of the following do you think has more of an effect on the minds of people all around the world? I think this first example will resonate with most people reading this because it’s an extremely “wide” topic that applies to pretty much every religion I can think of.

#1 – You should believe in God because you’ll have a great life and go to Heaven when you die.

#2 – You should believe in God because if you don’t, you’re going to live in a place of fire and brimstone for all eternity.

As we all know, the second option puts fear in your heart and overall is a much more powerful message. The thought of living in a place being burned alive for all eternity really isn’t something most people want to experience, so it drives them to believe in God – or at least try.

Putting Fear Into Relationships

Here’s another example that most people will understand.

#1 – Take this pill or do this certain thing and your spouse will love you for it. Your relationship will deepen, your sex life will become instantly better, and you’ll be happier!

#2 – If you don’t take this pill or do this certain thing, you’re spouse will eventually leave you for another person. You’ll constantly worry if they’re cheating on you from dissatisfaction and you’ll feel like you’re wasting your remaining years with someone who doesn’t even care about your relationship!

Again, that second message is much more powerful.

Here’s A More “Nichey” Example

Here’s an example in the weight loss niche. This is a little more subtle and isn’t clear-cut fear advertising (i.e. differentiating the negative and the positive) but I just want to show you the difference in how you could position the same thing in different ways.

So for example…

#1 – Lose 10 pounds in the next month with Pill “X”. No dieting, and no hassles. Imagine how you’ll feel, walking down the beach strutting your new body, grinning with glee as you see heads turning your way.

#2 – Lose 10 pounds in the next month with Pill “X”. Say goodbye to the stares, whispers and comments from other people as you walk past. Your kids won’t worry if you’re going to die from a heart attack, and you’ll never have to wonder whether or not your friends are making fun of you behind your back.

A Little Homework For You Today

When you go off to work today, no matter what you do…I want you to simply count how many times you see fear in advertising throughout the day.

Not only that, but just count how many times they use negative language as opposed to positive language. That’s part of fear based advertising as well, just like I showed you in the weight loss example.

I would bet that for every 1 positively phrased message you’ll see a minimum of 3 negatively based messages. And if you watch the news, it’ll be higher than that.

Then come back and let me know what your results were!

In tomorrow’s post I’m going to tell you the repercussions of fear in advertising and the event that happened which made me write this series of articles!

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