Persuasion is a common criterion and objective for advertising. Companies spend money to deliver messages through TV, radio, print or other media. You want your ads to impact target customers by persuading them of the benefits of you brand, product or service. While much of your advertising investment likely goes toward persuasive messages, this communication technique does have drawbacks.


All advertising has costs for production and placement by definition. You have to pay for delivery through various media. However, persuasive ads typically take longer to research before and after placement and to design. To get customers attention and to persuade, you often need well-crafted visuals and copy. This increases production costs. You may also have to use television, magazines and other visual-affecting media that are more expensive than newspapers and local radio.


To strongly persuade one type of customer, you often have to create and present an ad that gets directly into his life and experiences. This can cause your ad to have little relevance with other types of customers. Companies segment large markets into smaller groups of customers with shared values for this vary reason. And while this approach can improve efficiency, it generally limits your customer reach with each campaign or ad.


Even if you have a well-crafted ad and present it at the right time to the right target market, you may still miss the mark on impact. Customers are bombarded with hundreds and even thousands of promotional messages each day just by going about their daily lives. Thus, your investment in an ad placement may go largely unnoticed or have minimum long-term memorability or impact in the midst of commercial segments or a cluster of print ads. Repetition is one way to improve success, but this also means longer ongoing investment.


One of the most significant drawbacks of persuasive advertising is the risk of lawsuits. The line between persuasion and deception is fine, and companies have often been sued by other companies or customers, or drawn fines from the Federal Trade Commission. In 2011, the FTC settled a claim of deceptive advertising with Reebok for $25 million. In early 2012, it settled a similar claim against Skechers for $40 million. In the Skechers example, the company used questionable sources to back up claims that its shoes aided in weight loss and cardiovascular fitness. One study cited in commercials was conducted by the spouse of a company executive. You have to advertise with transparency, accuracy and verifiability to avoid these risks.