I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse: The Beatitudes of Advertising Appeals


Jesus gave human beings 8 beatitudes encouraging them to become the best possible versions of themselves which would in turn give them blessings from the Father. Advertising Agencies use Advertising Appeals to encourage target audiences to become a version of themselves which may or may not be in their best interests, but that is a debate for another day. This article is a mash-up between beatitudes & advertising appeals. It is not intended to put down advertising brands (rather tries to portray the reality of the situation) or tarnish Christian sentiments (I love Jesus as much as the next Christian), but rather to explore creative thought which I believe is a God given gift. 

b1.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven Advertising Appeal: Less than Perfect Appeal

While Christ used humility as a virtue, Less than Perfect Appeal advertisements encourage anything but. You aren’t supposed to take comfort in being humble or adequate; you are meant to feel the horror of your inadequacies. After all, who will purchase cosmetics & pharmaceutical products if not a less than perfect you?

Original Beatitude: Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted
Advertising Appeal: Humour Appeal

The comparison we can draw from here is spiritual comfort versus material comfort. The spiritual kind of comfort asks us to draw hope and happiness from the smallest things in life, most of which are free. Humour appeals in advertising for the most part make you happy, while asking you to seek happiness from materialistic things aka product/ brand being advertised.

Original Beatitude: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
Advertising Appeal: Fear Appeal

The quality of meekness or a submissive state is seen as a strength rather than weakness by Christ. It is a quality of gentleness that allows you to possess self-esteem without ego, to let go of wrongs-doings or hurt caused by others, to convert pain into service, to be mindful of the feelings of others (empathy) and to control the strength of your feelings when everything around you goes wrong. Fear Appeals on the other hand indicate that to stay submissive means your fears getting the best of you. If you don’t get insurance for your family, they will suffer in the event of your death, being one example. It’s not wrong to plan ahead and while a fear appeal ad may get you to sign up for that insurance brand, it’s a scare tactic that makes you give in to fear while asking believers of divine providence to go to hell.

B4.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied
Advertising Appeal: Sensitivity Appeal

People who hunger and thirst for righteousness definitely have highly-attuned sensitive streaks that move them to help others or seek out truth or justice. Advertisements with Sensitivity Appeals unquestionably tug at your heartstrings but it remains to be seen whether the brand has your best interests at heart. A food brand with children does the best ad work by playing on the “cute” factor but how certain are you that the food you’re buying isn’t processed/ unnatural or unhealthy for your child? Are you being put on a path of righteousness or being fed lies? Literally.

B5.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy
Advertising Appeal: Endorsement Appeal

To give mercy is to get mercy. That is what Christians believe. But with Endorsement Appeals, when a celebrity steps in to pump up a brand it’s basically a “Show them no mercy” or more like “Have the audiences at your mercy” tactic. No matter that the celebrity who is your idol is someone you’ve never met before, since they use the brand, you should too. I guess people may say the same thing about God- we have never met him, so why should we do what he did? Because God wants us to believe in ideals while ads want you believe in idols.

B6.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God
Advertising Appeal: Sex Appeal

A pure heart is an innocent one. One that hasn’t been tainted by the immoralities of the world, akin to childlike behaviour. Someone ruled by God, not man. Enter Sex Appeal Ads and a heartfelt goodbye to innocence. We have entered an age where any object, even seemingly innocent ones can be made dirty! So there you have it. Sex sells while all of us are going to Hell.

B7.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God
Advertising Appeal: Play by Word Appeal

Peacemakers try to invoke a sense of peace, not war, by both their words and action. Play by Word Appeals use words as a choice of weapon. Slogans like Got Milk, I’m Lovin It, Have a Break, It gives you wiiiings, are wordy and witty and have people who love puns and catch-phrases (like me) as their biggest fans. But whose line is it anyway? We are living in an age where what we eat is infact our biggest problem, food brands in particular entertain us with their war-chosen words, while what we consume wages war on our bodies.

B8.jpgOriginal Beatitude: Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Advertising Appeal: Bandwagon Appeal

A righteous person walks a lonely road because he believes in doing the right thing, for which he is persecuted most of the time. He shares the outcast trait with a person not hooked on to Bandwagon Appeal products. Just because everyone is using the latest Samsung GalaxyS7 doesn’t mean you have to own one too! Oh what’s that? You’re calling me from your newly purchased Samsung GalaxyS7? Sigh. Never Mind.

Blessed are the ones who read this article without having any appeals made to them from me,

For now, I can rest my case.



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