Advertising agencies use more than one technique to sell merchandise to the general public because of consumer differences. You market a car to women by focusing on the many safety features of the vehicle, while you target the men with the powerful engine and durability of construction. The techniques used by advertisers to convey messages to consumers are based upon demographics studies during product development.

Card Stacking

The concept of card stacking advertising simply means comparing two similar products in such a way that the consumer picks the better product. For instance, a particular laundry treatment product is advertised to whiten and brighten better than the competition because of the active cleaning ingredients. The advertisement may also target other audiences with claims of one product being more environmentally safe than the other product or fewer harsh chemicals in the ingredients. An advertising agency may design an ad campaign that targets two or more consumer markets by the choice of features compared in each product. The Federal Trade Commission requires advertising claims to be truthful.


Bandwagon advertising represents the product brand as the one product that all the in-the-know consumers are buying. Often referred to as a propaganda technique in advertising, the consumer faces the suggestive idea that everyone is using a particular product or brand. It is possible for this type of advertising to backfire when the targeted group of consumers pride themselves on free thinking and independence. Bandwagon advertising may use paid spokespersons, such as actors or professional athletes, to entice the consumer to purchase the product.

Product Placement

The old movies and television shows had people drinking from glasses or wearing plain shirts and shoes. Product placement advertising techniques now show actors drinking from bottles of popular soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. The same actors may wear a specific type of sunglasses during an outdoor scene or a particular brand of shoe when shooting an action scene during a show or movie. Product placement can be a simple bottle of brand-name dish soap sitting on the counter on the set of a television sitcom. If you can identify the brand or product without anyone making reference to the name, it is classified as product placement.

Video News Release

Television news broadcasts are on the air for a period of 30 to 60 minutes three or more times per day. Sometimes there is not enough news to fill the time slot and the station resorts to video news releases to make the program longer. Advertising companies film videos in varying lengths that appear to be newsworthy information for the local consumer. In fact, the video is an advertisement for a brand. For instance, the story may show farmers dealing with hard-to-till soil because of a recent drought, but actually the entire piece showcases the new plows featured at the local farm and tractor store. You can recognize video news releases because there is only one brand of product featured throughout the entire news piece.