What Is Popularity Appeal in Advertisement?
The popularity appeal is a common tactic used to persuade targeted customers with an advertisement. This approach includes the use of peer influence or social group pressure by trying to convey that everyone in the same segment of the population as the target audience believes in a product or uses it for the intended purpose.
The popularity appeal technique is akin to the use of the phrase "Everyone does it," by people trying to defend their harmful actions to others. Advertisers use related expressions such as "everyone believes," "everyone uses it" or "9 out of 10 teenagers agree" to argue that it is to the target customer's benefit to also use the product. In essence, advertisers suggest that customers who avoid the product or service are choosing to be outliers or to go against the popular opinion on a brand.
Fashion and technology are two prominent industries in which companies commonly revert to popularity appeal. Both of these industries are trend-driven, meaning companies rely on products catching on in peer groups and spreading through viral word of mouth. Fashion designers and retailers try to convey that their clothes are hip, cool and trendy to convince target customers that if they want to be cool, or part of the "in-crowd," they will buy. Tech gadgets are constantly promoted to young consumers with messages emphasizing fitting in and keeping up with friends.
In some instances, popularity appeal is used to inspire group think. This means that target customers are hit with messages trying to touch their emotions to motivate them to get on board with a societal movement, or to be on the right side of public opinion. The phrase "Made in America" is a classic example of this. A number of manufacturers and resellers have used this slogan over time to provoke patriotic attitudes among consumers so that they feel it is their duty to support the advertiser.
Leading soft drink brand Pepsi has altered its brand slogans every few years, but since the mid-1980s, it has relied largely on a message of cool, trendy and youthful. Slogans such as "Pepsi, The Choice Of A New Generation," "A Generation Ahead," "Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi," and "Generation Next" have been used to project the image that if you are young and cool, you drink Pepsi. Though not obvious in these slogans, Pepsi has use this popularity appeal with young people to compete with the more traditional, nostalgic brand image of Coca-Cola.