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howtoadvertiseforfreeI am not ashamed to admit that I still love McDonald’s happy meals, even in my late 20’s.  Especially when I see a commercial or billboard promoting those juicy burgers and crispy fries of my childhood, McDonald’s advertising strategy for their  Happy Meals get me every time.

There is no doubt that most of us have fallen victim (happily) to an advertising strategy from a company or business that has led us to purchase their goods or service.  Advertising strategies are essential campaigns and tools that can determine if a business will succeed or fail in their sales.  Let’s take a look at some of the most popular and effective advertising strategies that you have probably seen yourself.

Top Advertising Strategies

Appeal to Emotion

When a company is able to appeal to the emotional needs of their audience, they generally will issue a promise that the product will serve a certain function of purpose.  This function or purpose can satisfy the person’s emotional need in the following areas:

Many advertisers will associate their products with things that people want out of life, such as: luxury, wealth, fame, beauty, family, or love.  They ensure that by using their product, you will be able to fulfill these areas of your life.


Fear is a very common persuasion method for many people.  A company or business will suggest that, if you do not buy their product or service, certain terrible things can or will happen to you.  Companies note that people fear the following things:

There are plenty of products that promise to get rid of things such as: body odor, fat, or unwanted hair.  And all of these things can help a person feel more attractive and accepted.

The Ideal Family

In commercials or on build boards, generally, the family you will see will be full of attractive people who appear to be getting along with each other perfectly.  This is a popular advertising strategy to show an “ideal family”, in hopes that people will believe that the certain product or service will give them the ideal family as well.

Cool Factor

We all want to feel cool, and advertisers know this.  Companies will try to convince you that if you do not use their product, you simply will lose cool points or not have a “cool factor”.  For instance, maybe you will not fit in, you will not have friends, or you will not be accepted.  Advertisements always show people who appear hip and cool doing hip and cool looking things.

Amazing Toys

When you were growing up, you probably remember toy commercials with toys doing things that they might not exactly be able to do.  Many companies display their toys doing incredible things that the product is not actually capable of.  For instance: cars doing wheelies, dolls crying or moving by themselves, or airplanes doing loops and twirls in the air.

Weasel Words

Advertisers are required by law to tell the truth in their advertisements.  However, they tend to use certain words or phrases that are meant to help mislead viewers.  For instance, words such as: natural, new, part of, or because we care are common deceptive words and phrases used in advertising.

Put Down

In advertising, if a company is not sure how to make their product stand out, they will resort to putting down some of their competition or a competitor to try to make themselves look better.

Heart Strings

This is an advertising strategy similar to appealing to emotion.  This is when a company will use separate forms of media to create an emotional mood to draw you in and make you feel good.  For example, cute pictures of children or babies, or cute little animals can pull on anyone’s heart strings and appeal to their emotion.

Cute or Cool Celebrities as Product Pushers

There are a wide variety of characters or people that you might associate with certain products.  Think of your favorite childhood cereals, such as Tony the Tiger or Toucan Sam from Fruit loops.  All of these “celebrities” are a type of advertising strategy to get children and adults to associate a certain image with a product.


We all want and hope for the perfect family, and an easy advertising strategy for companies that deal with a family product is to show both parents and children having fun together.  This demonstrates a sense of togetherness and community in that a product is capable of providing fun and happiness for children and adults alike.

Facts and Figures

Companies will also use certain facts and statistics to make a product or a service appear more credible and reliable.

Star Power

Plenty of celebrities, sports heroes, and teenage heartthrobs are recruited by companies or brands to help them sell and give credibility to a product.  There are many food products and clothing lines with celebrities as spokes people.  This is a strong advertising strategy for children, especially, who sometimes might not realize that their celebrity idols are getting paid to endorse a brand or product.


No one wants to feel left out, and advertisers know this.  Look out for advertising strategies with slogans that encourage you to, “Join the crowd!”, “Do not be left out”, or “Everyone is doing it – so can you”.  This is an encouragement for people to hop on the bandwagon.


In commercials, bill boards, or on other types of advertisements, you hardly see anyone who does not look like they are having the time of their lives doing whatever they are doing.  Even if it is simply eating a hamburger, you better believe that it is the best part of their day.  A popular advertising strategy is excitement in the faces of the people in the ad, commercial, or bill board.

Check out this course for a great guide to display advertising. 


It happens far too often—you see an advertisement or bill board for a drink, a hamburger, or other item and when you do go out to buy it, the product ends up being half the size of what you expected.  This is an example of scale, when the advertiser makes a product look bigger or smaller than it actually is.


In many commercials, advertisers use music or other sound effects to make a product seem more appealing.  For instance, sound can make toys appear more life-like than they actually are.  Music can also add hints of excitement and joy to a product and its appeal.

Selective Editing

In commercials for advertising, there is a lot of selective editing and omission that goes into the process.  For example, if it is a commercial for a basketball and the commercial shows players making perfect throws and making all their baskets, there is a good chance that any misses have been carefully edited out from the footage.  Generally, advertisers and companies will not give you the full story about their product.

Sex Appeal

Far too often we see beautiful women with perfect bodies or handsome men with chiseled six packs advertising or promoting a product or brand.  This advertising strategy is known as sex appeal.  The sex appeal strategy used by advertisers or companies will appeal to the raw emotion of an individual.  Sex appeal is commonly used for products such as: beers, champagne, shaving cream, toothpaste, underwear, lingerie, or perfume.

Gender Appeal

There are certain products that have brands which are promoted to cater to either females or males.  Take cigarettes for instance.  Some popular male-oriented cigarette brands are: Marlboro cigarettes or Lava.  Female-geared cigarette products include Virginia slims.  Interestingly enough, advertisements and advertising strategies are geared more towards the female gender because make up around 80% of household buying decisions.

Time of Day

For commercials, you will notice that certain commercials play at certain times of the day.  For example, advertisements for Subway promoting sandwich items will usually play around lunch time.  NyQuil, on the other hand, which is a night time remedy, will appear on television in the evening hours.  People are more likely to pay attention to products or advertisements that they need during that time.

Benefits of an Advertising Strategy

Here are some reasons as to why a company, small business, or individual would want to implement an advertising strategy into their business plan.

  1. Product Introduction:  Say you or your company has just developed a product.  There is no better way to get the word out there to the public than by advertising.  You can use advertising to tell others the features, benefits, and highlights that the product has to offer.  Additionally, you can note any special promotions or pricing.
  2. Brand Reinforcement:  People lose interest and tend to forget things easily.  By using advertising as a way to reinforce and remind people about your brand, you will be creating a stronger image to the public.  This can work as a long-term advertising or marketing strategy.
  3. Clearing the air:  Certain products can come with certain misconceptions.  As a company, you do not want your product or brand to hold any negativity in the eyes of consumers.  If there is any lack of information or knowledge, advertising can allow you to explain your product, its features, and benefits to clear the air.
  4. Product Upgrades or Improvements:  If you want to introduce new improvements to an existing product, advertising can help you demonstrate to the public how a product has changed and highlight its new features.

Advertise Wisely

An advertising strategy is essential for creating brand recognition, increasing sales, and helping make consumers and the public aware of a product, brand, or service.  If you want to learn more about creating an advertising strategy that will work for you, enroll in this course to learn various aspects of advertising and marketing taught by online Global Training experts in the field.

Page Last Updated: February 2020

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