Advertising Writing Techniques

One remarkable fact about the human language is that it conveys both fact and feeling simultaneously. Language can be used to convey opinion as well as to express facts.

 

Words can be carefully chosen to “slant” the subject toward one opinion or another. Ads often use these clever techniques to persuade their listeners.

 

One thing to remember, however is that advertisers cannot lie without incurring serious legal ramifications. So, if any product is truly superior, the ad will say so very clearly and will offer some kind of convincing evidence of its superiority. If an ad hedges at all about a product’s superiority, you can suspect that it is not really superior. You will never hear Mobil (or any other brand) say “Mobil gasoline in your car gives you 4 miles to the gallon more than any other brand.” Mobil would love to make such a claim, but it simply isn’t true. Various brands of gasoline are more alike than different. Although there have been some clever and deceptive gasoline ads, no one has yet made an outright claim that one brand of gasoline is better than any other.

 

To create the illusion of superiority, advertisers often resort to one or more of the following techniques.

 

Pronouns of Power

Plural pronouns like we, us, our, they, them, and their for example have the ability to suggest group or institutional authority. Those pronouns can lend a certain degree of authority to an individual writer by suggesting that the individual has the authority to speak for the entire group or institution as a whole. When a writer uses a plural pronoun to foster a sense of authority in the readers’ minds, those pronouns are called the pronouns of power. Sometimes simple membership in a group is sufficient to garner group authority for a writer.

 

Example:

“We at Allstate are here to help you.” (communicates the idea that Allstate is a large organization that has the resources to help you.)

 

 

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