7 Types of Propaganda Techniques used in Advertising

7 Types of Propaganda Techniques used in Advertising

In the digital marketing and website design industry, understanding the intricacies of propaganda techniques used in advertising is essential for optimizing online presence. These techniques have the power to profoundly influence consumer behaviour and shape brand perceptions.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the various types of propaganda techniques commonly harnessed in advertising.

We will also include real-life examples to underscore their impact.

What is Propaganda and Its Examples?

Understanding propaganda is key to mastering advertising and marketing. It is a potent and persuasive tool, expertly crafted to manipulate public opinion and influence human behaviour. Within the context of propaganda advertising, a set of seven fundamental techniques are frequently observed.

These techniques are often used in marketing to convey persuasive messages and evoke emotions that align seamlessly with a brand’s overarching objectives.

We will delve into each of these techniques and provide real-life examples to showcase their influence on consumer behaviour.

The 7 Types of Propaganda Techniques

1. Bandwagon Technique:

The Bandwagon Technique is a classic example of how propaganda techniques shape advertising strategies. It capitalizes on a fundamental human inclination: the desire to belong.

Advertisers skillfully craft narratives that instil a sense of belonging, making consumers feel as though they are “joining the crowd” when they choose a specific product.

An excellent example of this is Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign, which pitted Mac users as part of an exclusive, tech-savvy club. The ads implied that Macs were superior to PCs in terms of performance, security, and design, and that anyone who wanted to be cool and smart should get a Mac.

This not only created a sense of belonging but also subtly implied that those who were not part of this community were missing out on a superior computing experience.

This establishment of social proof is an influential form of propaganda in advertising.

Read More:  The psychological effects of propaganda in advertising

2. Fear Technique:

The Fear Technique is another hallmark of propaganda advertising. Fear is a compelling motivator and is often harnessed to create a persuasive message.

anti-smoking campaigns
Source: NBC News
A classic example is anti-smoking campaigns that depict the health risks associated with smoking. The ads use graphic images of diseased lungs, rotten teeth, and cancerous tumors to scare smokers into quitting or prevent non-smokers from starting.

By evoking fear, these ads aim to deter potential smokers and persuade existing ones to quit. This method makes a potent emotional appeal that is hard to ignore.

3. Testimonial Technique:

The Testimonial Technique is a cornerstone of propaganda in marketing.

Brands frequently enlist the support of famous personalities, experts, or satisfied customers to endorse their products or services.

commercials featuring athletes promoting sports equipment

Consider the commercials featuring athletes promoting sports equipment or celebrities advocating for beauty products. The ads use the credibility and popularity of these figures to persuade consumers that they can trust and benefit from their products.

The underlying message here is that if these well-known individuals trust the product, then so should you. This technique expertly leverages the credibility and trust associated with these endorsers, making it a compelling form of propaganda in advertising.

Read More: The ethical implications of using propaganda in advertising

4. Transfer Technique:

The Transfer Technique in advertising propaganda revolves around associating a product with positive emotions or symbols.

Advertisers often utilize national flags, symbols of freedom, or other emotionally charged visuals to evoke feelings of patriotism, pride, or nostalgia.

By doing so, they aspire to transfer these positive emotions onto their product, thereby creating a powerful emotional connection. For instance, a car commercial might incorporate images of the American flag to make consumers associate the vehicle with qualities such as freedom and reliability.

Another example, Budweiser's "Born the Hard Way" ad tells the story of how its founder immigrated to America and faced hardships to achieve his dream of brewing beer. The ad uses the American flag and the Statue of Liberty as symbols of freedom and opportunity, and connects them with the brand's values and identity.

5. Plain Folks Technique:

In the Plain Folks Technique, propaganda advertising carefully constructs a relatable image by portraying themselves as everyday, ordinary people.

This technique is frequently deployed in the fast-food industry, where advertisements depict regular individuals enjoying their products. The underlying message here is that their offerings are accessible to everyone, much like you and me.

By employing this approach, a connection is established between the brand and the common person, reinforcing the idea that the product is designed for everyday individuals.

McDonald's I'm Lovin' It
Source: LinkedIn
For instance, McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" campaign shows people from different walks of life having fun and sharing moments with their friends and family over McDonald's food. The ads suggest that McDonald's is a brand that understands and cares about its customers.

6. Glittering Generalities:

The Glittering Generalities technique is centered around the use of vague, yet highly positive words or phrases to create an emotional appeal.

This technique is often employed in political campaigns, where candidates use terms like “hope” and “change” to resonate with voters. By employing grandiose, albeit somewhat ambiguous language, they aim to inspire trust and hope among the electorate, appealing to emotions rather than relying on facts or specifics.

Glittering generalities propaganda examples

For example, Coca-Cola's "The Pause That Refreshes" slogan suggests that their product can provide a refreshing break from the stress of everyday life.

Glittering generalities propaganda

7. Card Stacking Technique:

The Card Stacking Technique is a common strategy in advertising propaganda.

It involves presenting one-sided information to make a product or idea appear unequivocally superior. Advertisers frequently emphasize the strengths of their offerings while conveniently ignoring any drawbacks.

A quintessential example of this technique can be observed in the competitive advertising of soft drinks, where each brand fervently highlights its benefits while downplaying any negative aspects. This method endeavours to create a biased narrative that strongly favours the product being promoted.

For example, Pepsi's "The Choice of a New Generation" campaign claims that Pepsi is more appealing and innovative than Coke, while Coke's "The Real Thing" campaign asserts that Coke is more authentic and original than Pepsi.

What are the Characteristics of Propaganda in Advertising?

Understanding the core characteristics of propaganda in advertising is pivotal for professionals in the fields of marketing and website design. Let’s embark on an exploration of the four key characteristics that define propaganda in the realm of advertising, including their impact on propaganda techniques and advertising propaganda.

1. Simplification:

Propaganda simplifies complex issues or ideas to make them more easily digestible for the audience. By presenting information in a straightforward and easily understandable manner, advertisers can effectively convey their message. This simplification is essential to ensure that the intended message isn’t lost amidst complexity, making it accessible to a broader audience.

2. Emotional Appeal:

Emotions hold a formidable sway over decision-making. In advertising, propaganda often capitalizes on emotional appeals to evoke feelings such as fear, joy, or empathy. This emotional connection can significantly influence consumer decisions and foster a deeper connection with the brand. By tapping into human emotions, advertisers can make their message resonate on a personal level, making it all the more impactful.

3. Repetition:

Repetition stands as a frequent and potent tactic in propaganda. Advertisers employ it to reinforce their messages, making them more memorable to the audience. Repeated exposure to a message can lead to stronger retention and, ultimately, action. By presenting the message multiple times through various channels, advertisers aim to increase its impact and shape consumer behaviour.

4. Manipulation of Information:

Propaganda selectively presents information to mould the narrative in a favourable way. Advertisers meticulously curate content to emphasize the positive aspects of their product or idea while downplaying any negatives. This manipulation serves to create a more persuasive message that guides the audience toward the desired outcome. It’s a deliberate choice to control the narrative and influence perceptions in a manner that benefits the brand or product being advertised.


Propaganda techniques are widely used in advertising to persuade consumers to buy products or services. By understanding the types and characteristics of propaganda in advertising, marketers and website designers can create more effective and ethical campaigns that appeal to their target audience.


  • What are the 7 types of propaganda?

The seven types of propaganda, as employed in advertising, encompass the Bandwagon, Fear, Testimonial, Transfer, Plain Folks, Glittering Generalities, and Card Stacking techniques.

  • What is propaganda and examples?

Propaganda in advertising refers to the use of psychological tactics to convey messages and evoke emotions that align with a brand’s goals. An example is the fear technique used in anti-smoking campaigns, which vividly illustrates the health risks associated with smoking.

  • What is an example of propaganda in marketing?

A notable example of propaganda in marketing is Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign, which effectively used the Bandwagon technique to create a sense of belonging among Mac users.

  • What are three propaganda techniques used in advertising?

Three prominent propaganda techniques used in advertising are the Testimonial, Transfer, and Plain Folks techniques.

  • What are 4 characteristics of propaganda?

The four key characteristics of propaganda in advertising are simplification, emotional appeal, repetition, and manipulation of information.

  • What is a simple definition of propaganda?

A simple definition of propaganda in advertising is the use of persuasive tactics to influence public opinion and behaviour in favour of a specific cause, product, or idea. In the context of advertising, it’s about using these tactics to shape brand perceptions and persuade consumers, often through techniques like those outlined above.

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Mallami Adekunle

Kunle Mallami is a digital entrepreneur with expertise in website design, digital marketing, brand strategy and digital content writing. When he's not doing any of these, he will probably be on YouTube learning.

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