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Christmas adverts and the art of persuasion

In December, we find our cynical selves, usually alert to the danger of commercial manipulation, wiping away an unexpected tear while watching a… television advert. They hit on key elements of the human psyche, triggering strong emotions like joy, sadness, excitement or endearment. A company’s use of effective visual layout in advertisements can greatly add to the viewer’s evaluation of it. Emotion is also a great shortcut to virality. The adverts become the talk of the town. Consequently, the credibility of the company increases and we are more likely to buy their products.

Study these adverts from two popular British household names with your students.

  1. Ask your students about their favourite adverts? Which ones are they? Why?
  2. Watch the films together.

Marks and Spencer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfaSxIkLslE (1:35)

John Lewis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw1Y-zhQURU (2:10)

  1. How do these adverts play on viewers’ emotions?

Making use of the rhetorical mode of pathos means triggering the feelings of your audience.

  • Use vivid language
  • Tell a story
  • Use anologies and metaphors
  • Show pictures
  • Use humour
  • Be confident
  • Vary the tone of your voice
  • Use music and images to evoke feelings
  1. Which of the Christmas adverts is your favourite? Why?

Time: 30 minutes

  1. Wish to see more? The Telegraph, amongst others, has ranked the best Christmas ads of all time:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/0/the-10-best-christmas-adverts-of-all-time/

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