Vance Packard - 'The Hidden Persuaders' (1960)

Packard argued that most marketing and advertising is trying to tap into one or other of human beings' Eight Hidden Needs:
  • Emotional security. Home freezers, a way to store more food than people could possibly eat, were sold as symbols of security, warmth, and safety.
  • Reassurance of worth. Soap and detergent advertising reassured the housewife by exalting the importance of her role in keeping things clean.
  • Ego-gratification. Steam shovel sales improved when ads began showing more prominent pictures of the operators, upon whose recommendations sales depended.
  • Creative outlet. Cake mix marketers reformulated their product to allow the housewife to add eggs or milk, thereby giving here a more active role in the process.
  • Love object. The promoters of pianist Liberace made much of his resemblance to a beautiful child.
  • Sense of power. A staple of automotive marketing, with promises of "that extra margin of safety in an emergency" providing a rationale for the power.
  • Sense of roots. Mogen David wine was marketed with references to the family-centered occasions of which it was a part.
  • Immortality. Life insurance ads showed the deceased, while physically gone, still shielding, providing for, comforting and governing his family.

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Need

Maslow argued that human beings have five different 'levels' of need, and only when the lowest has been satisfied do we start to seek fulfilment of the one above. It can be interesting to see WHICH of these five needs is being targetted by a particular advertising campaign:
external image maslow.gif

If you want further explanation of these two theories, look at the following document (pages 3-5 ONLY):

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