7 Industry Leading Advertising Appeals To Create Viral Presentations

Ideas for Presentation Slide Design

Right at the outset, I would like to tell you that the post covers advertising industry’s best practices that have shaped all advertising and made it as powerful a force as it has become today. And the same can be applied to your presentations (Content and Design) to make them go viral over the web…

So, here’s the moment of truth- Your presentation is an advertisement. And it has to be as good as a TV commercial or a print ad.

Yes, that’s definitely possible. Here’s how: Advertisers have since centuries crafted their ads around the power of an APPEAL. This is the igniting force which resonates with the audience and pulls them to take the desired action. Appeals like comfort, economy, love, sex, beauty, etc. touch the deepest, raw emotions in each one of us and give the ads the power they wield over us.

Do you use these well-established advertising appeals in your presentation? It’s time you did. The appeal has to reflect in your cover slide, otherwise your hard work will get lost in the presentation clutter. Here are the appeals that expert presenters are using and you can try them out too. (Also find examples of path-breaking advertisements that used these appeals and went viral)

1. Shock Appeal:

This is often employed in advertising to arrest audience attention. United Colors of Benetton got a lot of attention (and criticism) by showing pope Benedict XVI and imam Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb kissing each other, a black woman breastfeeding a white baby in another ad and a newborn still attached to umbilical cord in another. Called ‘shockvertising’, the ads startle the audience with a controversial or offending statement. The appeal works great to change behaviors that may be life-threatening (like rash driving and teen smoking). Presentations on these themes can employ this appeal to create a high impact. It works quite well in other, less serious situations too. Just like BuzzBuilder did for their sales presentation:

Shock appeal in presentations


2. Fear Appeal

A very strong emotional appeal. Advertisers often instill fear in audiences’ mind by highlighting the negative outcomes of an action or inaction. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) used the fear appeal very creatively to campaign against climate change. Fear can be removed by adopting the advertisers’ product, service or idea. Again, it can be creatively used in any situation. Just like Empowered Presentations did in their cover slide to stop death by PowerPoint:

Fear appeal in presentations

3. Success Appeal

Tugs at the universal human appeal to succeed in one’s endeavors. No wonder, one of the most used appeals by companies that offer expert guidance. The Economist branded itself as a newsweekly for those wish to be successful and smarter. An ad from 2004 read, “Once upon a time, there was an ambitious young man who didn’t read The Economist. The End.” Another, from 1988 said, “I never read The Economist — Management Trainee. Age 42.” Clever and hard hitting! Everyone wants to taste success in the shortest time possible. EntrepreneursRadio promise that in just 60 seconds! Who can refuse such an irresistible offer:

Success appeal in presentations

4. Sex Appeal

Sex sells. That is still a hot topic for debate. Nevertheless, advertisers continue to exploit it to hilt. Axe deodorant ads showing women flocking towards men and angels dropping from heaven to have the man who sprayed himself with Axe were a runaway success. Can this be used in corporate presentations? See for yourself how this presenter Eric Tachibana used this appeal to share business secrets. Who thought this appeal could be used for a business presentation, right?

Sex appeal in presentations


5. Humor appeal

Everyone loves a laugh. Old Spice body wash ads featuring former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa in vacation settings appear ridiculous yet very funny. Yet, not everyone has the talent to pull it off. Especially, in informative presentations, this appears to be an impossible task. Piethis shows the way by bringing together two leading Apple personalities in a PowerPoint presentation on Steve Jobs.

Humor appeal in presentations

6. Fame Appeal

Closely linked to success appeal, this appeal exploits our desire to be known and create a niche for ourselves. Ethos3 use this appeal to target professional speakers and practically everyone about to step on the dreaded stage to give a speech:

Fame appeal in presentations


7. Love Appeal

Romance is in the air and definitely in many of the ads. Matrimonial or dating websites as well as beauty products flavor their ads with the love potion in good measure. Budweiser stole the show amongst 2014 Super Bowl commercials through their puppy love commercial. You can try it if your next presentation lends to this universal appeal. This presentation is successful in creating that magic:

Love appeal in presentations

There are many more powerful appeals that have been left out: curiosity, adventure, economical, envy, etc. that too can be used in your presentation slides. All you have to do is identify what need your product, service or idea will fulfill and that will help you choose the appeal best suited for your presentation.

P.S. Browse featured presentations on authorSTREAM and identify the appeals they used. Next, create your presentation with the appeal that best suits your product, upload it on authorSTREAM and share it on social media to get audience feedback.

Got any doubts? Ask us in the comments below.


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About Author
Anuj Malhotra

A potter maniac, I live in a world inhabited by wizards and Marvel's superheroes. Writing is my defence mechanism (Mr. Freud, analyze this). Presentations are my new found love.

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