Selecting the Message Source


message source, appeal, central messaging, communication, perception

Review the activity below or download the PDF student worksheet

Student Discussion Activity

There are a number of other options for the ‘source’ of the firm’s promotional messages. Your task in this activity is to identify which source would probably be the most appropriate for each particular promotional challenge.  

List of Possible Sources

  1. The firm’s CEO (e.g. Richard Branson, Elon Musk)
  2. A celebrity
  3. An expert (such as a dentist, accountant, scientist)
  4. A spokesperson (a person who becomes the ‘face’ of the firm by regularly doing all of the firm’s promotions)
  5. A real customer (highlighting their use of the product)
  6. An actor/model (in an entertaining or product use ad only)
  7. The firm’s employees
  8. A character (e.g. Ronald McDonald)
  9. Just the product/logo (no people in the ad)

  Promotional Challenges

  1. Your firm wants to increase the sales of their fruit juices. Sales have been flat for a number of years. Your range of juices comes in a wider selection of unusual flavors, as compared to your competitors.
  2. You are required to help promote a private business college. Their unique offering is that they provide highly practical education that has been quite successful in helping its graduates get good jobs.
  3. Your firm has managed to produce the world’s first truly effective ‘toothpaste chewing gum’. As the name suggests, this chewing gum cleans teeth and eliminates the need to use toothpaste.
  4. You are involved in a campaign to help promote independent butcher (fresh meat) shops. They have lost a lot of business to the major supermarket chains. Your campaign needs to highlight the friendliness and the convenience of a local butcher.
  5. Your firm is trying to increase its share of the of kitchen appliance market (e.g. toasters, kettles, blenders). The plan is to build brand awareness and to highlight the reliability of the firm’s products.

Student Discussion Questions

  1. For each promotional challenge, identify a suitable message source from the above list.
  2. Highlight why the message source you selected would be a suitable and credible approach.
  3. Compare your approach to those of your fellow students. Does it appear that multiple message sources may be appropriate to use in the same promotional challenge situation?
  4. Do you have examples of marketing communications that you believe were particularly effective due to their choice of the message source?

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