Have you ever wondered how Nike finds a way to persuade their customers into buying their products? Through use of persuasive appeals in their advertising, Nike is able to make even a t-shirt seem as though it will make an athlete perform better or encourage those who do not workout as much to choose a healthier lifestyle. Three ways that Nike influences their audience in through the persuasive appeals of guilt, power, and self-esteem.
Everyone loves an advertisement that is going to show us what our bodies are capable of. Nike uses the emotional appeal to enable their audience by using the story of the Hero. This story shows the viewers that there is a warrior within all of us and they use this idea to inspire these individuals to buy their products, and by using the guilt appeal they want their audience to show the world what they are able to do. The idea is to bring purpose to your body, not to be a couch potato. According to Nike, their clothing brand is one that can get their audience to that position of the Hero. The position of the Hero in their advertising campaign exemplifies a person who sets their goals and reaches them with great effort and dedication in order to be proud of themselves.
Nike is known to make their customers feel empowered to reach their goals with small sayings in their advertising such as “Find Your Greatness“. The transformative appeal works to, “…evoke psychological associations that create feelings, images, or meanings when consumers buy the product.” (Woodward, & Denton Jr., 2014). The transformative appeal of power is specifically used by Nike in order for the customers to believe that if they buy Nike clothing than they will be able to reach their physical fitness goals with ease. The power appeal used by Nike allows for their customers to feel as though if they buy the product, then they will be able to obtain a powerful body or a healthy and successful one.
Although some companies tend to focus of self-esteem in a negative manner, Nike is looking to boost their audience’s self-esteem. Self-esteem appeals “highlight inadequacies” (Woodward, & Denton Jr., 2014) in other words, they aim to make people feel that their insecurities or things that they are self-conscious about are going to be fixed if they buy a certain product. Nike seems to focus more on their clothing and shoe lines than another aspect. (excluding accessories) Nike reflects on their clothing in order to make people want to go out and encourage them to want to be better than they were yesterday.
All in all, the key to advertising is to connect to consumers through things that are important to your audience. In the case of Nike, they tend to focus on power, guilt appeal, and the self-esteem appeal. The New York Times claimed that Nike was the most valuable brand in the world. They must be doing something right because they are one of the top brands across the country.
Although persuasion in marketing and selling is important in advertising, there are ways to tell when brands are using these appeals, especially the self-esteem appeal. When advertisers say something that is going to ultimately change your life, that is an example of the appeal.
Woodward, G., & Denton Jr., R. (2014). Persuasion and Influence in American Life (7th ed., pp. 282, 284). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.