RESEARCH: Powers of Persuasion.

A sucessful campaign srategy will attract the relevent audience. condieration must be given to colour, imagery and layout. What message do I am to send, to who and how?

So off to in the advertising world, I stumbled across an online collection of 25 of the most effective propaganda posters; compiled by Emlii , and I wanted to keep the list, because although is is probably based on opinion rather than fact, it had some really interesting posters and logical reasoning.

Some of the adverts I have seen that raised my eyebrows where, in fact, the ones clearly completely in conflict with what we are told now, adverts like these :

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Advertising cigarettes as a way to become, or stay, athletic? I found many such posters, aimed at men and women, selling them as weight loss aids, alongside others stating them as treatment for conditions from Nerves to Asthma and Bronchitis,  a stark contrast to this poster produced to help us understand the dangers of smoking :


Simple yet effective I suppose, as I am myself a smoker, having an age of 37 years, I have seen the propaganda first hand from both sides of this fence, as a child, everyone smoked, everywhere, all the time. It was something that was as normal as breathing, I saw the beginning of the stop-smoking campaigns and even remember berating my father about his ‘dirty habit’. Nonetheless I still became a smoker.


Looking at Sexism in advertising, adverts from what seems an age ago, suggesting women on the ‘scrawny’ side, should ‘beef’ themselves up and become more rounded in order to attract male attention :

In today’s age we are urged to lose weight and look as skinny as possible, again, I think I prefer a woman with a little bit of shape, curves are natural, beautiful and attractive, I myself being a fairly skinny woman, actually have a fervent dislike for the stick figure, its not attractive, ‘No’ I don’t feel awfully feminine, I sorta pine the days when I could have got ‘beefed’ up, alas, we are now told, steroids are not the answer!

Adverts spreading word that women should be feminine, dainty and delicate, and then in the next breath, urging us to man up and take over the jobs while the men are at war, ‘But don’t forget your beauty regime on the job lady!’ So lets be honest, although different, the two adverts above are blatantly aimed at women, targeting our desire to be noticed by men. Telling us to change our body image so that men look at us in ‘that’ way and not just as a person, throughout history, although the imagery has changed, these adverts have told us we are not good enough and for this very reason, the advert below gets my 100% sexism award :


Exactly, here it is, its not how clever or talented we are, its simply that we look ‘pretty’ whilst doing it. Why? Because who cares what a girl can do unless she is attractive no-one will pay her any notice.



Warning ladies to ‘Save their marriage’ before it breaks by taking care with their stockings and using feminine disinfectant for personal hygiene purposes. We are invited to buy the Bride, a present that will please her husband too! Oh yay, a lovely meat thermometer to ensure his meats cooked just the way he likes it :/



So what is propaganda in advertising?

In essence it is nothing more than a reverse psychology way to sell something. Instead of saying buy this its great, its showing you how much you NEED it. It gets under our skin and convinces us we are worth less without it,our lives will be better when we have it,  it is hard not to accept that we should spend all of our waking womanly hours ensuring we look beautiful, when even the Lady waiting to get you with her STD’s is looking as well made up as Barbie, after all fellas if we didn’t look as good as her, you might ever look at us again.


Speaking of Barbie; In the above advert, it is portrayed we will communicate better with our daughter with the aid of this doll, now what mother can refuse this, when it clearly promotes such a harmonious , educative and loving relationship ?

Obviously it is not restricted to convincing us ladies that we need to use harsh chemicals twice daily in our nether regions in order to ensure we do not carry unsettling female smells, oh no, its reach will extend even unto  the man who needs a rather closer shave in order to impress the women.

These adverts above are quite recent, from a Braun Series 5 razor, That read, ‘Brings out the human in men” Well, faced with the thought of looking like an Orangutan, why wouldn’t you buy the razor?

So we covered Sexism, Racism is out there too:

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With the above poster implying the child portrayed with milky white skin, has such because of the cleaning agents in the soap. Well you really cannot get much worse than that?


I sw some adverts which just take the biscuit:


Above: Seriously??? This was okay? My skin is crawling. ‘They aren’t toys’ states the advert,  but a little girl is tucked up in bed with one in her hand and a doll by her side? I just keep shaking my head.

7ea74794308eb83550311ca45567fa8bLeft: Ahem, I do not want to know.


Above : My absolute favourite! I need this!!! I actually really really like this advert, it is just completely mind blowingly  and sadistically cute lol. Okay I don’t think this is an actual vintage advert, it is probably somebodies fun project and a bit of a dig at the advertising world, but I gotta say, I would be inclined to buy this product 🙂 Which just goes to show how a little consideration for ones audience, will make a huge impact on sales.


Above: Well yes, that’s one way to ensure we buy all the available flavours, clever though?

06d8dcfd498644d87f13efc39ce09ec0.jpg Left: Well, what more can be said?.


Research Links :

Book Review Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson (Editors) Reviewed by Joseph C. Bullington, Department of Psychology Georgia Southern University.  1995, Psychology and Marketing, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 155-159.Link

  • “The term propaganda often conjures up negative images in the minds of both layperson and intellectual alike. We tend to associate its use with the work of sinister Ministry of Information types like Joseph Goebbels, or the nameless bureaucrats who inhabit the pages of novels such as Orwell’s 1984. However, the dictionary gives the word a somewhat neutral meaning, referring to propaganda as a method of spreading ideas or doctrines”. – Direct excerpt from text. Link last accessed 02/10/2016

  • Oguntoyinbo, L. 2010, “The Power of Persuasion”, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, vol. 27, no. 13, pp. 24-25.Link – unavailable online


  • Fletcher, W. 2008, Powers of persuasion: the inside story of British advertising : 1951-2000, Press, Oxford.Link, –
  • Yesil, B. 2004, “‘Who said this is a Man’s War?’: propaganda, advertising discourse and the representation of war worker women during the Second World War”, Media History, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 103-117.Link
  • Brown, H.C. 1929, “Advertising and Propaganda: A Study in the Ethics of Social Control”, International Journal of Ethics, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 39-55.Link
  • Pratkanis, A.R. & Aronson, E. 1992, Age of propaganda: the everyday use and abuse of persuasion, W.H. Freeman, Oxford;New York;.Link
  • Brown, J.A.C. 1963, Techniques of persuasion: from propaganda to brainwashing, Penguin.Link
  • Armstrong, J.S., Lukeman, G. & Patnaik, S. 2010, Persuasive advertising: evidence-based principles, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.Link
  • Whitaker, W.R. 2012, MediaWriting: print, broadcast, and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, London.Link

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