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Persuasive Devices. Feeling manipulated yet?. Common Persuasive Devices. Plain Folks Bandwagon Transfer Repetition. Glittering Generalities Name Calling Card Stacking Testimonial. Glittering Generalities.

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Persuasive Devices

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persuasive devices

Persuasive Devices

Feeling manipulated yet?

common persuasive devices
Common Persuasive Devices
  • Plain Folks
  • Bandwagon
  • Transfer
  • Repetition
  • Glittering Generalities
  • Name Calling
  • Card Stacking
  • Testimonial
glittering generalities
Glittering Generalities

The use of words and phrases that sound “glowing” or lofty, but really only have vague or general meanings. Usually used most by politicians, but can be observed in advertising.

glittering generalities4
Glittering Generalities

Danger! You may feel great about the person speaking or product shown, but in reality, you have no solid idea of what s/he stands for or what the product does.

name calling
Name Calling

Calling the competitors bad names.

(very creative naming structure here)

Danger! The speaker says bad things about another product, but doesn’t mention anything good about his or her product.

card stacking
Card Stacking

Lists numerous reasons the product is good.

Danger! The reasons listed might be small and blown out of proportion.


Testimonial uses some person to testify the worth of the product. Example: endorsement by a movie star or sports hero.


Danger! The person may not actually use the product. Even if the person uses the product, why should we buy a product just become a famous football player endorses it?

plain folks
Plain Folks

Uses common, ordinary people to sell a product. It says that you share this problem with others. Danger! Just because a politician dresses like the people he/she is around (in a farmer's cap or firefighter's hat), the person hasn't really changed.


Advertising that states that because a large number of people use the product, you should jump on the “bandwagon,” too. Example: Crest is the number one selling toothpaste in the United States.


Danger! Just because more people do something doesn't always make it good. Maybe a large number of people went to see a movie, but few enjoyed it. On the positive side, this technique can have some value. (If four out of five dentists recommend a cavity fighting toothpaste, that can be helpful information.)


Transfer persuades you to buy a product for the wrong reason. Example: You buy Cracker Jacks to get the free toy inside.

Danger! The customer is buying the gimmick and not the real product.


One of the most simple, yet effective techniques of persuasion. Repetition makes the new and unfamiliar more likable and an unfamiliar idea more comfortable.


Danger! Repetition is a part of most brainwashing. Once an idea is accepted, repetition can also become an irritation.


Head On! Apply directly to the forehead! Head On! Apply directly to the forehead! Head On! Apply directly to the forehead! Head On! Apply directly to the forehead!


Tonight, find three examples of persuasive devices at work either on television, in print advertising or on the web. In your report, include

1. The product being sold

2. The persuasive device at work.

3. How the device is used in the ad


Iowa State University Writing and Media Center Help Center: Persuasive Devices: How to Avoid Being Bamboozled

Jeffrey Schrank: Snap, Crackle & Write