Rational V/S Emotional Appeal in Advertising

Selling emotions is easier than selling any product. The human mind is unpredictable and works in inexplicable ways. It processes complex emotions and makes decisions based on not only facts and figures, but also on the feelings evoked by a message. Top advertising agencies optimise this understanding through every campaign. Advertisers select different communication channels to promote an idea, a product or a service.



(Source: Pacific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)


Often we notice a set pattern in the tone of these messages. Such marketing communications are based on either emotional or rational appeals. Though there are plenty of other approaches for advertising, most advertisements can either be labeled as rational or emotional appeals.

Let's dig a little deeper.


Rational Appeal

Rational appeal revolves around facts and statistics based on logic and reason. Such advertisements try to persuade customers by informing them of the different features and characteristics of the brands.

Here, marketers trust a customer's judgment and offer them material that will help them critically evaluate the option and make a wise purchase decision.

Advertisements for automobiles and home appliances often focus on their attributes. Also, when brands want to promote a discount or an offer valid for a limited time, they often rely on rational advertisements.



(Source: Emaze)


Emotional Appeal

Humans are quicker at processing emotions than any data or statistics. Emotions sell, and we can witness this in advertising campaigns. Marketing communication based on emotional appeal establishes an emotional connection with the brand. Often such communication engages the audience with a story, song or dialogue that creates a connection.

For instance, advertisements by jewellery brands or brands selling baby products revolve around emotional appeal. Such brands engage their audience with a storyline on emotions, family bonds, etc.



(Source: Platinum Jewellery Projects)


Rational vs Emotional

Many debate over which approach to choose! Though some find the straightforward nature of the rational approach to be excellent for marketing, others want to establish a connection with their audience. For different brands, either or both of these manners of persuasion can strike a chord with the customer.


While understanding modes of persuasion, we can refer to terms coined by Aristotle:

  • Ethos(Credibility and Authority)

  • Pathos (Emotion and Imagination) and

  • Logos (Logic and Reason).


As an advertiser, one can strike a balance between Pathos (Emotional Appeal) and Logos (Rational Appeal) with Ethos (Credibility and Authority) to ensure brand values stay consistent.


Therefore, instead of proving one appeal to be better than the other, choosing both and finding a balance between showcasing emotions without hyperbole and rational attributes without information overload, can help audiences connect with your brand and have a transparent understanding of its traits.


At Albatrot, we work with different clients and help them with campaigns. While working on different projects we employ different approaches to get the message across. Take a look at our projects and connect with our team if you're looking for experts to create campaigns for you.