The Powers of Persuasion: Lessons in Advertising

Dec 11, 2015
Activity, Behavioral Finance, Research, Credit Cards, Mutual Funds, Advertising, Purchase Decisions, Insurance, Video Resource


I saw this US News and World Report article titled “7 Tricks Advertisers Use to Make You Spend Money” and immediately thought it would be fun to pair with a series of advertisements. The assignment is simple:

  • Students review the advertisements (see below) and indicate which of the 7 tricks the advertiser uses (several of the ads may use multiple tricks):
    • Appealing to greed or other vices
    • Exciting our emotions
    • Suggesting that everyone else is doing it
    • Using attractive people in advertising
    • Employing repetition
    • Glossing over cost
    • Making you laugh
  • Students indicate which of the 7 tricks they believe are most effective for them and their peers and discuss the reasons why.

Here are some commercials to get you started:

Additional resources:

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.