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Fear Mongering in Advertising: Overview


It is no mystery that over the years, marketers have tuned into Consumers’ fears and insecurities.

These insecurities have taken the form of fears over the economy, security, confidence, even fears of fitting in at school!

Marketers tune into these consumer sentiments, because it is these emotions that make consumers take action.

Would a consumer feel compelled to buy insurance if risk nor fear weren’t involved? Dennis Haysbert sure does a good job of scaring the wits out of you to pick up the phone and call All-State.

Consider the pharmaceutical industry: after a 90 second TV spot, many of these drug brands have consumers pretty-well convinced they need to run straight out the door to their doctor to check if their pretty ordinary symptoms are a full-blown ailment or disease.

Clothing retailers and electronics manufacturers, alike, have long played into Teens’ insecurities and low self-esteem of going to school with the wrong outfit, bad hygiene, or the latest gadget.

Some marketers even played a role in cultivating mass-fears over the Swine-Flu pandemic, promoting products such as surgical masks, hand sanitizer, and overnight flu medications.

Some of these insecurities may be festering worries that already exist or they may be new fears that hadn’t been considered before!

Fear marketers paint a pretty thorough picture of life without their product for consumers, making the purchase of the good a pure necessity for assuaging their fears and letting them move on with their life, on a clearer conscience, or so that is the marketers’ promise.


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