Advertisement remains one of the most reliable promotion methods used by the marketers. The various applications of advertising will always depend on how effectively it will help the marketers meet their corporate goals. Emotion refers to the motivational states that underlie behavior and relations with the environment and includes action tendencies (Frijda, 1986). The motivational feature of emotions has made the advertiser to rely on stimuli for persuasion. The studies conducted prove that the use of the negative emotions such as guilt, fear, and shame may result in a desired change in consumer’s behavior and attitude (Fischbacher et al., 2001). This approach to advertisement has been employed successfully in health communication. The advertisement regarding road safety, drug abuse, and immorality has mostly been designed to stimulate emotions on the part of the target group. The negative emotions make an individual look for means of overcoming the threat or dealing with the associated dangers (Coulter & Pinto, 1995). A strong emotional advertisement can facilitate an emotional transfer to a brand or even generate memorability and engagement. Damasio relevantly noted: “ I never wished to set emotion against motive, but rather to see emotion as at least supporting motive… nor did I ever resist emotion to cognition since I view emotion as conveying cognitive information” (Damasio, 1994). He thought that emotions and feelings always dominate cognition when it comes to decision-making.

Emotional appeals are closely related to individuals’ psychological and social needs for purchasing services and products. Many consumers work under the influence of feeling motivated towards purchases. Advertiser may choose to capitalize on this and normally succeeds, as there is no much difference between the product brand and what it offers to the consumers (Dufwenberg & Kirchsteiger, 2004). These appeals may relate to social or personal aspects and may include the personal appeals, which are the emotions that make an individual buy humor, safety, fear, joy, sentiments, nostalgia, and ambition among others (Harriso & List, 2004). Social appeals are linked to the social aspect of human life and include respect, affiliation, involvement, acceptance, status, and approval. Fear appeals are normally used for a better effect in advertisement and marketing campaigns. They may be used in beauty, health products, and insurance services advertisement (Ledyard, 1995). Advertisement experts indicate that using reasonable levels of fear when making advertisements can be fruitful. Humor appeals have widely been employed for a long time, which accounts for about 30% of all advertisements. It is an excellent tool for capturing the attention of the target groups. It is effective when it relates to some benefits that the consumers can get from a product (Cotte et al., 2005). Music appeal is equally an example of the emotion appeal advertisement that has some intrinsic values that help increase persuasiveness. Other appeals include scarcity appeals, rational appeals, masculine-feminine appeals, brand appeals, snob appeals, adventure appeals, less than perfect appeals, romance appeals, sensitivity appeals, and youth appeals among others.

Guilt and shame are triggered by the anxiety from the consumer’s realization that he has violated societal, moral, and ethical values. The feelings of guilt and shame may arise from the experience of purchasing the product, service, or idea that is perceived inappropriate or unethical according to the principles prescribed by the society (De Hooge et al., 2010). Fear, guilt, and shame interact with each other, hence increasing the persuasion and motivation effect on a consumer to engage in the prescribed behavior. The difference between guilt and shame is that shame arises from a target not hit, while guilt arises where there is an extension of boundaries (Wicker, Payne, and Morgan, 1988). Shame is a result of a negative judgment by others about an action that the offender does not find immoral (Izard, 1977). Fear is said to be a prior emotional response that results from the perceived possible consequence of a particular action or cognition (Ghingold, 1981). While guilt prompts one to atone for the offence, fear leads to prevention of the possible outcome (Dawes & Thaler, 1988). Management is always exploring means of marketing their products in the most effective way by putting cost and target groups into consideration. Statistics have shown that emotional appeals in advertisement are most powerful among the youth. For example, in the places with numerous road accidents, the insurance company in an effort to reduce the number of claims may choose to exploit emotional appeals and promote safety on the road. The insurance company will have to choose the most efficient method to ensure that the accidents on the road have been reduced. This may happen by making use of emotional appeal advertisements. In some instances, this may involve hanging the wrecked vehicles by the road or showing them in the movies. The emotional feeling that such scary consequences may be for real is likely to make the careless drivers observe traffic rules keenly and avoid any chances of causing accident.

Statement of the Problem

The advertisement appeals’ objective is to manipulate the way consumers make their buying decision (Brody & Hall, 1993). These kinds of advertisements are designed to influence consumers’ buying behaviors based on the image created by the advertisers (Becker, 1974). Companies and other advertising agents make use of advertising appeals to adjust the purchasing behavior of their target group (Bernheim, 1994). The use of negative emotions has been particularly advantageous for the health sector and public policies in ensuring public safety and social welfare. Such advertisements have been used in areas like the transportation sector where the effort may be to discourage people from driving while drunk to avoid accidents (Allen & Haccoun, 1976). These advertisements have had a magnificent achievement by reversing the situation which otherwise would have been very disastrous.

The company’s objective may be to increase sales. This will happen if it serves a larger market and has regular buyers or consumers with a high purchasing power. It may choose to appeal to the emotions of the consumers by presenting how the situation would be without the consumption of their products. For example, a company that produces fish oil may, in the nutrition fact list on the bottle, state that fish oil contains calcium, which is true. The general knowledge suggests that calcium lead to the development of bones, and the lack of it lead to the deformation thereof. To appeal to the market, the company may represent a case of both extremes: one strong kid and the other one having deformed bones. This is likely to appeal to shame and such an effect may lead to an increased sale of fish oil in an effort of consumers to strengthen their bones.

Unfortunately, advertisement has cost and any organization’s goal would to achieve the advertisement objective at a minimum cost. It, therefore, becomes a priority to find the means to link the producer and consumer in the most efficient and sustainable way. The consumer demand assesses how effective the advertisement methods applied are. It involves assessing whether talk sales would be more appealing to the consumer’s emotions than the use of television and other electronic means; for example, as in the recent past, the use of electronic devices in advertisement has gained popularity. Although the main reason is wide coverage and cost effectiveness, the market also comprises of the youth who are a good target for the emotional appeal advertisement. This is because the youth are more sensitive to emotions and more responsive to what they see. They are also influenced so much by the purchasing behavior of other youths, such that they display almost a similar trend in consumption. However, what remains unanswered with respect to the youth consumption behavior is whether their response to the emotional appeals advertisement results from the social value of something or because they see others do it. This is one of the specific objectives of this research.

Despite a new paradigm in marketing and performance promulgated by many scholarly works, little is known about components of the emotional appeals advertisement. Similarly, the knowledge about fear and guilt is also limited (Andreoni, 1990). This study, therefore, seeks to establish the effectiveness of shame appeals, in addition to guilt and fear, as components of emotional appeals in advertisement (Frey & Meier, 2004). This seeks to provide a solution to the problem that businesses experience in their marketing activities. In most cases, they are unable to determine the best promotion option when little can be done in product pricing and positioning (Zeelenberg, 2008). With the findings of this research, managers will be able to know what they expect when choosing the emotional appeal advertisement method and, therefore, they will be in a position to assess the feasibility of such a move by calculating the expected gains.  

Objective of the Study

The study aims at establishing the effects of shame, guilt, and fear on the donation behavior and other behaviors. This is important to the management of any company to understand the effects a certain advertisement will have on the target audience.  It also has to estimate if the proposed ad is concurrent with the intentions of the company. A company that wants to increase the marketability of its products cannot undertake to use the advertisements that instill guilt in the audience. This is because the feeling of guilt, such as the one achieved when tobacco users are informed that it is harmful to the health, will make customers shy away from consuming the products even more. The company should, therefore, only commit to using such advertising if it is consistent with its intentions.

The study is also important to enable companies to know what kind of advertisements to launch. Specifically, it is important that the adverts communicate to the emotional sides of people. If this does not happen, it most certainly will be ignored by the consumers.

The study helps advertising firms avoid too much indulgence in using logical appeals. The use of logic can be pointless, if the company fails to achieve the intended purpose. Logic is where the advert seeks to make consumers reason, other than appeal to their emotions.

The study findings are expected to contribute knowledge to understanding of the effect of emotional appeals in advertisement. The suitability of these appeals will be justified and, more importantly, the consumer behaviors may be affected to a large degree. This understanding of how consumers make their decision will be of great importance to organizations and marketing agencies. They will be able to select the most effective advertisement methods.

Let us illustrate this idea. The government may engage a marketing firm looking for the means to reduce cancer rates. As is well known by the consumer, the use of tobacco may be a great cause of lung cancer. The marketing firm may choose to use the emotionally appealing method of advertisement to discourage consumers from their tobacco intake. To do this, they may take an image of somebody suffering from lung cancer and instill fear in the consumers. This will make them shun away from tobacco and the government will have achieved its objective of improving the welfare of the society (Brennan & Binney, 2010).Therefore, research on the effect of emotional appeal advertisement will be significant to many market players including the government, as shown in the example above.


Data may be collected through questionnaires with a set of questions that need to be answered. The interviewee should give answers to each of the questionnaire items. It is also important to have the financial records such as sales so that they could be translated into graphs later on. Graphs may be used in data analysis. An upward sloping curve drawn indicates that sales have been increasing and, conversely, if it slopes downwards, this indicates that sales have been reducing with increased sales.

Literature Review

The use of emotional appeal advertisement has been scrutinized for many years and several empirical studies have been conducted to determine its various aspects. Guilt, for example, has been widely used in the context of anti-alcohol and AIDS prevention campaigns, among others. However, the effectiveness of this type of advertisements is limited (Bennett, 1998). Guilt appeals have been widely used in the social marketing portraying differences in an individual’s welfare and that of others (Izard, 1977; Coulter, Cotte, and Moore, 1999). Findings by Bechuer et al. (2007), however, showed guilt as an emotion that enhanced persuasion and gave motivation for people to adopt the recommended actions.

Most studies conducted in the past indicate a positive relationship between fear and persuasion (Becheur et al., 2007). The effect of fear appeals with clear information on the sexually transmitted diseases in a study by Block and Keller (1997) demonstrates that people prefer vivid images to the neutral ones, when the perceived self-efficacy is high. It also shows that those people with low self-efficacy evaluate the result of compliance with the recommendations. This way, it makes the positively framed messages appear to be less efficient compared to the negatively framed ones. La Tour, Snipes and Bliss (1996) conclude that the purchase plans of promoted gun brands were higher after the commercial messages that led to much fear.

Not many studies have been conducted regarding shame appeals in advertisements. A research by Bennett (1998) evaluated how guilt and shame affected advertisement persuasion. His results indicated that shame appeals invoked a less intense reaction compared to guilt appeals. He also provided an argument that it would be more efficient to advertise using guilt, as long as shame is not activated. Among shame, guilt and fear, shame proved more efficient against alcohol abuse risks (Becheur et al., 2007). Emotional appeals in advertisements are more effective among the youths. However, a research conducted by Tangney (1990) also indicated that women expressed more shame and guilt than men did. This results from the women’s role in the society that has given her a bigger capacity to interpret the emotional signals.

Research Design

Primary data may be obtained from the field research. This will involve interviewing of the consumers so that they can provide feedback on the effects that various adverts have on them. It is important to sample the adverts which target users of different commodities. Consumers should then be asked what they think of those particular adverts. This will help in reaching a conclusion. Secondary data may be obtained from the recorded media, namely ministerial journals on consumption, after a public campaign for or against the product has been conducted using emotional appeal advertisement. It is also important to interview certain marketing managers who will provide valuable information on the effects certain adverts have had on the sales figures. These figures may then be used in plotting the graph. Analysis of these sales figures against the method of advertisement used can help in drawing decisive conclusions. Moreover, the supplier sales statistics of the advertised product will be obtained as well. The use of the secondary methods will be appropriate because of the availability of recorded data. To collect secondary data, a data collection guide will be prepared. Primary data will be derived from the consumers and their respective subjective views on consumption. The suitability of primary data depends on the subjectivity of some data to be collected. The sample set will consist of consumers, suppliers, and government agents. Cluster sampling will be utilized by dividing every region into several parts and choosing randomly so as to get the cluster that is representative of the population. To ensure the detailed and complete data collection, the questionnaire and the interview will include both open and close-ended questions. In order to familiarize with the area of collecting data and speculate on the anticipated challenges, a pilot study will be carried out.

Theoretical Model

This research seeks to establish the effect of emotional appeals advertising on the  product sales. We expect that once a marketing campaign is conducted, the product consumption will be affected.

The model to show the effect of emotional appeals advertisement will be represented by:

 D = F (f, g, s)

 D = α0 + α 1f + α2 g + α3 s + µ 

Where D – The quantity consumed

f - Number of consumer whose consumption is affected by fear,

g- Number of consumer whose consumption is mainly influenced by guilt,

s - Number of consumers whose consumption is mainly influenced by shame,

 µ- Disturbances.

Quantity consumed will be obtained from the statistics of quantity supplied by the producers. I will look at the trend in quantity supplied for a period of three years, when there has been emotional appeals advertisement. I will also gather information from the representative sample on their consumption at the time the advertisements were initialized. I will obtain the subjective responses from the consumers with the help of the questionnaire and interview. From every consumer’s respondent, I will be able to tell which effect dominates the impact on consumption. I will group them into four groups. The consumption of the first group is affected by fear, the second one – by guilt, and the third one – by shame. The fourth group will consist of those consumers whose consumption is not affected by guilt, fear, or shame. The relationship between the consumption and the aggregate market consumption will give us the coefficients: α0, α1, α2, and α3. Consumption that does not depend on guilt, fear, and shame will be represented by disturbance.

Data Analysis and Presentation

Once the data collection guides have been filled, they will be coded to avoid confusion. They will then be entered and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. The regression will be done to show the relationship between the dependent and the independent factor. In this case, the aggregate market consumption will be the dependent variable, while the independent variable will be the number of people who display dominance of the influence of a certain appeal. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) will aid in quantitative analysis. From qualitative analysis, charts will be used to show trends in consumption for every group of consumer.

It is important to use graphs to present findings. This may be used in the case of presenting figures.

Interpretation of the results will depend on the values of the coefficients. The autonomous consumption will be represented by α0 and α1 which will mark the propensity to consume more under the influence of fear. Propensity to consume of people influenced by guilt will be represented by α2, while those influenced by shame will be represented by α3. These propensities will form a basis for the marketers’ decision-making in being able to predict how a particular emotional advertisement is likely to affect consumption.

Ethical Consideration

Use of appeals in advertising must also not lead to cheating. This is where the advert is intentionally misleading the consumer who might end up buying products that are not effective. The adverts must also uphold fair play. This will help the company to be a respected player and not use the advert to thwart competition with the help of questionable practices. Unfair competition involves talking ill about the competitor and his or her products.

The advert, at the same time, must ensure that it mentions the potential harmful effects of the product consumption as well. An advert of cigarettes, for example, must not just appeal to emotions to lure consumers to buy more. It must also cling to the ethical standards and inform the consumers of the effects of consuming the products.


The time to conduct the research will be held optimal to avoid excessive costs. 

Time (days)


Day 1

Designing questionnaire and formulating questions

Day 2-5

Data collection

Day 6

Data entry and analysis

Day 7

Conclusion and recommendation

Day 8



From my research, I found out that it is important for firms targeting increased sales have an emotional appeal in their advertising campaigns. We, as human beings, make the majority of our decisions based on emotions. It is important that there thus be an emotional touch.

This may be done by using pictures on the products. Such pictures should send a signal to the consumer of the intention behind the product. A refreshing drink, for example, should be accompanied by images of a happy person. This will help increase sales.

It is also important to avoid boring or outdated images. Such will only push potential customers further away. It is important to figure out what customers love before launching the advertisement. This will help in the design of the most appropriate advert.

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