Selecting the Message Appeal


message central messaging, communication, perception, positioning

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student worksheet: Selecting the Message Appeal

Student Discussion Activity

‘How’ to communicate the desired message is an important aspect in the overall effectiveness of a promotion. The message appeal also plays a part in communicating the overall positioning for the brand/product.

In this activity, you need to select the most appropriate type of ‘appeal’ (refer list below) for each challenge listed.  

Promotional Objectives

  1. You want to help raise money for a local charity (a special school for kids). You plan to use local newspaper ads, letterbox drops, and posters in local shops – to encourage people to donate items for a future charity auction.
  2.  Your cosmetics firm is introducing a new perfume range that will be primarily targeted at older teenage girls. It will be a little more expensive than most competitive products targeted at that segment and will be positioned as the ‘best’ for that market segment.
  3.  A wine company is introducing ‘zero wine’ (a zero-alcohol wine that tastes similar to normal wine). Its prime target will be people who drink wine when they eat out at restaurants (and need to drive home).
  4. You are responsible for a new TV campaign, organized by the government, which is designed to encourage young drivers to be more cautious when driving late at night.
  5. You work for a large firm that is just about to introduce a new smart phone player, which they believe is technologically superior to the Apple iPhone.
  6. Your firm’s new range of washing powder has been dramatically improved and will be re-launched (that is, ‘new and improved’). Previously, your firm’s research showed that the old product was often perceived as fairly ineffective. Therefore, a new formula was designed to ensure a highly effective new product.
  7. Your friend wants to start a small business as a ‘dog walker’. (That is, someone who walks dogs everyday if their owners are too busy). She wants to know the best way to promote her new service.

Student Discussion Questions

1. The first each of the examples, determine what would be the best message appeal structure to use, choosing from the following list:

A= Rational, one-sided, information

B = Rational, two-sided, information

C = Direct comparison to a competitor

D = Humor-based appeal

E = Emotionally-based appeal

F = Sexually-based appeal

G = Fear-based appeal

2. Compare your selection to your fellow students. Does this indicate that there is usually one best approach, or are there a range of suitable appeal options?

3. How important is to consider the firm’s/brand’s overall market positioning when selecting the type of message appeal to use in marketing communications?  

Related Activities

Selecting the Message Source

Which Celebrity to Use?

External Information

Top Five Appeals That Advertisers Use to Sell a Product