Emotional and Rational Advertising
Developing the idea of product involvement further, Puto and Wells (1984) suggested that advertising can use one of two strategies: Either a rational, informational strategy, relying heavily on transmitting information and facts – or alternatively a “transformational” strategy, characterised by trying to make emotional connections between the brand and the consumer. Taylor (1999) expanded the dual strategy choice from Puto and Wells in his “six-segment message strategy wheel”. The wheel illustrates three types of message strategies for both emotional/transformational and informational advertising.
Ego strategy messages focus on the “this is how I am” messages, emphasising ego, while Social strategy messages emphasise receiving recognition or admiration from others as a result of buying the product (for example as a gift). Sensory messages are associated to feelings, i.e. how does it feel to taste the product etc.. All these message strategies are primarily emotional or transformational – as opposed to the three informational strategies on the other side of the wheel, which are:
Ration(al) strategies, based on clear arguments, USPs and convincing consumers of the product benefits. Acute Need strategy is more typically associated for products where there is a sudden need – and limited time to gather information. Thus, building brand familiarity is important for this category. Finally, Routine strategies are related to items often bought frequently and habitually without much deliberation, using elements such as exaggerated claims.
The “wheel” can be used to create strategies, i.e. it can be used as a way to “prompt” thinking about a product. Different styles can also be combined – for example: The delicious feeling of a chocolate (sensory) as a reward for a long week on Fridays (routine). Further, the strategies can be used to analyse advertising or marketing messages – for example to see how strategies change during an economic crisis (Lee, Taylor & Chung, 2011) or how company websites try to “sell” their message (McMillan & Lee, 2003).