It’s been said that a buying decision is based on emotion and rationalized with facts. Emotions and feelings can be tapped to motivate a customer to click on the Buy button or pick up the phone to complete a purchase. One of these emotional motivators is fear. Fear is the feeling of imminent danger from a perceived risk or danger.
Copywriters tap into the power of fear knowing that most prospects reading an ad or viewing a commercial have two basic questions in their mind:
1. What do I gain by buying your product or service?
2. What do I lose if I fail to buy or respond to the offer?
Combe, Inc., the manufacturer of the hair dye product Just for Men use the fear factor in the following TV ad spot.
The commercial shows an executive, dressed in a gray suit and gray shirt in the back of an elevator. “One day you find it’s not business as usual”, the narrator warns. “Your hair is gray.” The other occupants step off the elevator. He’s left alone to contemplate how his gray hair may be sending his career down the tubes and how he might not be a seen as a valuable player.
Roll the distressing imagery of a crashing elevator car. The man looks panicked – his life is about to end. Suddenly he hits the emergency stop button and Just for Men rescues him from certain doom.
He emerges from the elevator in a red shirt and khakis with the important building plan in his hand. His coworkers crowd around him as they hang on his every word. His coworker gives him a handshake for that sweeeet presentation.
Hey mid level excutive in your 40′s or 50′s, feeling a little insecure about your career path? Keep the gray and you’re doomed, dye your hair and you’re back in the game. So what’s it going to be?
More common uses of fear in advertising is in the call to action. By limiting either the duration of the special offer or the amount of customers accepted. The potential customer fears they miss out on the deal and the product or service that they are interested in will cost them more.
What are some ways you’ve used the fear factor as an effective motivator in your marketing materials?
*** UPDATE ***
Youtube.com has removed the video. Here’s a description from another site regarding this commercial:
We’re on an elevator with a grey-haired guy. There are lots of other people on the elevator with him, they look younger, happier. He looks worried, old. You can see him looking at himself in the chrome reflection of the elevator button panel. He pressed a button, and PANIC! The elevator starts to drop very quickly. The floor numbers are ticking off like crazy! The elevator is falling. The old grey-haired guy is going to die. He reaches for the stop button and presses it. Next we see the “Just For Men” box and we hear a soothing voice telling us that it’s going to make everything better. Then, there’s a target over some guy’s hair. The hair magically turns brown, no more grey. The guy gets off the elevator now, with brown hair. He doesn’t look old anymore, or worried. He’s happy and he’s hanging out with his young and vibrant friends in the office. They seem to be architects or something. Everyone has bright colored clothes on too. He shakes someone’s hand. Finally, there’s a shot of the box again, then we see tons of boxes behind it, showing all the different colors you can dye your hair.
One day you find it’s not business as usual. Your hair is grey and you wonder, “Will people still see me as a valuable player, is my career going down?” *elevator crashing* How do you stop that? Just for Men stops graying from hiding who you are. Easy, with 5 minute, target grey technology. Now, doors are opening, and you wonder, “Why did I ever put up with grey hair?” Let the real you come through. Stay in the game with Just for Men.”