7 Propaganda Techniques for Students to Understand
Propaganda has existed as a method for any leaders or corporations to gain influence.
Leaders such as Adolf Hitler and people who inspired many such as Mahatma Gandhi used a certain concept as a message for their followers to employ in their lives.
These leaders also use it in the form of strong words such as “faith”, “independence”, “freedom”, “pride”, and even “peace”.
These words also have an emotional appeal towards its listeners to the point where some of them may accept the idea without analyzing it.
That’s why propaganda is also used by businesses to attract or, in some negative cases, fool people as well.
Propaganda is a must for every student to understand not just as a part of their studies.
They need to learn the different types of propaganda as it will help them determine what they really must believe in as they progress towards an independent life.
Here are the seven types of propaganda that students need to learn:
This is considered as the most basic type of propaganda.
Glittering generalities consists of words that are filled with praises.
It’s what patriotism is all about as it defines positiveness.
Phrases such as “world-class food” are what glittering generalities are all about.
This is often used by politicians as a way to inspire people to vote for them.
Hans Bluedorn states that words which “stir up certain emotions” is what most advertisers use when promoting a product.
The help of words such as “organic”, “all-new”, “fresh” and even “low-fat” gives us a very positive insight about the product.
These words often attract people as it sparks their curiosity.
The help of sugar-coated words are truly powerful despite its simplicity in meaning, hence the reason why generalization is applied in the statements that your message talks about.
Audience can have a huge emotional impact if this type of propaganda was made during a stressful event such as an economic crisis. Some even label glittering generalities as the propaganda for opportunists.
Most Popular Examples
Have you ever encountered slimming tea commercials?
These are one of the most noticeable ads that use the glittering generalities propaganda.
Since many people are gaining a lot of weight due to the cheapness of fast food menus and the many delicious recipes that you can think about, they can easily get attracted by slimming tea products.
Just the word “slimming” could be enough to those who aspire to lose a bit of weight.
“Start losing weight now by trying Herbal* Slimming** tea. Our slimming tea helps you lose weight by burning fat on your body. A lot of studies show that our product has helped millions around the world. It’s an amazing product to keep you in shape!”
As you can see the emboldened words are those that creates the Glittering Generalities propaganda.
The words may appear to give you an idea that it’s a slimming tea due to the words that they tell.
However, even if they claim that various studies show that their product is effective, without any further explanation”, the “amazingness” of the product seems to be vague in detail.
It will also leave you with questions on how can it really burn fat, for how long will you need to drink the tea, or if there are many side effects.
The advertisement didn’t even mention the exact amount of people who were “helped by the product” it didn’t even indicate the countries around the world where some of the customers live.
2. Labeled Directly In Front Of You
The propaganda is often found in product labels. Words such as “new and improved” and “20% more” are often placed in product in order to attract people in purchasing it.
Despite the reassuring words, we are unsure whether how the product became “improved” or “more”.
This is often found in snacks and beauty products.
3. Political Strategy
The use of glittering generalities has never ceased to exist in political propaganda.
The use of words such as “change” and “hope” are often seen and heard in political ads (e.g. commercials and tarpaulins) and in campaign speeches.
This is a commonly used propaganda before and during the elections.
However, we will never be unsure if the politician truly has good will once they get elected.
One of the most notable speeches that’s covered with glittering generalities was Former U.S. President Barrack Obama’s Inauguration Speech in January 20, 2009.
The most parts of his speech contain the propaganda based on the following words:
- “reaffirm our enduring spirit”
- “transform our schools and colleges and universities”
- “knowledge that God calls”
- “a new foundation for growth”
- “restore science to its rightful place”
- “to meet demands of a new age”
- “new era of responsibility”
Such words are filled with sugar-coated words that can make people feel hopeful for the leadership that the former President shall apply.
However, people will be left questioning what are those aspects that will reaffirm, their spirits during his tenure.
They will even wonder what are the demands that must be met during the new age and what will be the new foundation for growth.
Glittering Generalities may be widely considered as a simple marketing strategy.
But note that there may be some propaganda or ads under Glittering Generalities that are effective and beneficial for the good of people despite the vagueness of the message.
It just depends on the integrity of the company itself .
NAME CALLING/TRASH TALKING
If glittering generalities are often filled with praises in order to provide a positive meaning to a certain advocacy or product, name calling is the polar opposite.
It’s also called as trash talking, and is often found as an offensive propaganda rather than defensive.
The name calling propaganda occurs when pejorative words are used by an entity or a personality when talking about their rival.
Some politicians tend to perform name calling if they have a tight and bitter rivalry with an opposing party.
It’s also one of the reasons why some political believers are so mad to the party that they oppose. It’s because some politicians can really use very negative words just to lower the reputation of their opponents.
This will be discussed on the examples below.
That’s why name calling is also branded as “trash talking”.
Most Popular Examples
1. For Political Gain
For sure you already heard politicians in the news whenever they try to oppose their rivals.
They often say words that can damage the reputation of their political opponents.
There are also times where politician use name calling when opposing against militant groups if he/she considers them evil.
Here are some words that they use for name calling:
Some politicians also use this to label their rivals to the public.
This is proven to be extremely effective in strengthening the support of the people who already support them.
It’s because the result of name calling adds more hate to the opposing group or politician.
Here are some of the words they use:
Politics has been a ground for name calling due to the many rivalries that occur between politicians.
This also happens during court hearings between opposing teams, which always results in tension that the judge often calms down.
Businesses who often have a bitter rivalry with another company, or companies who got name called first, also use name calling.
Although it’s not as often as how politicians use it, but name calling in advertisements holds a strong impact to the public. Some may find it funny, entertaining or offensive.
Below is an example of name calling in an advertisement by Burger King:
“Why eat with a clown, When you can dine with a king?”
The itelized word is insulting as a clown is inferior compared to a king in all aspects.
It also suggests that dining with a king is better than a mere “clown”.
3. For Personal Gain
Some people may use name calling for their selfish goals to lower a person’s reputation.
This is often shown in a group of friends wherein one wants everyone to dislike a certain person within the group.
This can also be used to steal someone’s goal at work such as a promotion.
This is also liked to credit-grabbing – which is an immoral strategy fit for personal gain.
Here are examples of lines where name calling is used within a gossip:
“Hey, have you heard that John has bad breath?”
“I didn’t expect that Joe’s a creep”
“I can’t believe that Nora said that I’m very materialistic. She’s such a gossiper!”
These lines may be familiar to you when you’re talking to other people who talks negatively to someone just to ruin their reputation.
But even if the following lines are proven to be true or not, these are still name calling strategies that can be used as a propaganda for personal gain in social groups or at work.
Most governments and their allied media companies often use name calling.
But there are special cases where certain brands can also use it to compete against their rival corporations.
However, businesses use this type of propaganda in an indirect manner in order to generalize all of their competitors.
They often use strong words like “so-called best” when indirectly pertaining about a rival company during an advertisement.
Politicians often use this when reminding people about rebels and terrorists when mentioning a group.
In all aspects, it seems that name calling is very negative when used as a propaganda as It can be used to attack one’s character.
The plain folks is an appeal which talks about regular people and common life values such as family, finances and health.
This type of propaganda is often used to send a message to the common people when pertaining about certain resolutions to issues.
Thus, this propaganda often shows that the advocacy or the product is for everyone to enjoy.
Most Popular Examples
1. Political Strategies
Politicians often employ the plain folks propaganda by being a “people person” or someone who’s humble enough to step down into the perspective of the average people.
This type of propaganda is known to be popular across various scenarios as it employs good will and compassion towards the commoners, or most likely to the poor.
They often show that they can live a simple life and can be friendly with commoners.
This is often seen in their campaign ads and during their tenure.
They also show simple lifestyles so then people will think that they can “stoop down” their levels – which is proven to be very humbling.
Based on the stories of these presidents, they may use the propaganda as their political strategy or they can willingly do it as a leader.
2. Entertainment Purposes
Advertisements on television such as celebrities and cartoon characters ordering in a fast food chain or a celebrity showing their humble lives can be very good sources of entertainment.
Fast food chains are known for all commoners.
That’s why they will often think that the celebrity or the cartoon character has already eaten in a popular fast food restaurant.
This can also lead towards attraction to the advertised restaurant as well.
Another notable example of entertainment are TV personalities and journalists who document themselves in living a simple lifestyle.
It’s often attractive for its viewers as it shows that even famous people can live a life like a normal civilian.
Some may even feel touched if they see the celebrity living a poor life in the past.
The plain folks propaganda is a very positive type of advocacy whether it’s being used for business, popularity or for political gain.
Whether it’s a negative or a positive goal, being a “people person” always leaves an impact to those who need someone ideal as a leader or a popular personality.
Bandwagon advertising and advocacy uses a type of mentality within a group.
It helps convince individuals with similar mentalities to join into purchasing or following the certain entity who employed the appeal.
The main idea of the bandwagon propaganda is to let people know that it’s good for them as the majority likes it.
Numerous corporations has used the power of bandwagon in order to promote many people in believing the capability of their product.
The strongest message of this advocacy is letting people feel like they will be “left out” if they don’t join the crowd.
This also places insecurity to people who won’t follow the propaganda.
Peer pressure is also applied when the bandwagon propaganda has been followed.
Most Popular Examples
1. Marketing and Political Strategy
There was a marketing research which shows different kinds of group consumers.
The research shows that a group of happy friends in a very clean and classy night club are portrayed in drinking a brand of expensive liquor.
The showcasing of the happy group in the club is a company’s attempt to make individuals purchase the liquor as it can make them gather more friends for a good time.
It could also mean that you’re “cool” if you drink the product.
Donald Trump is one of those politicians who often used bandwagons in propaganda.
He often says that he has “tens of thousands of people” who support him or believe what he does.
People who firmly support him will feel like they are part of those amount of people, and felt that they did something good for their beloved president.
2. Pressuring People
It could also make you think that you shouldn’t feel left behind if you don’t “purchase” the product.
That’s why some ads such as McDonalds tells you to “hurry up” whenever they have a limited edition product, such as this ad when they offered the Twister Fries in the Philippines for a limited amount of time.
Various companies who have“limited offers” use bandwagoning as a way to pressure people in purchasing it.
Some announcements in malls such as the one below might be familiar to you:
“Better buy this product at half the price before time runs out!”
“Hurry! Buy this product and get another one/bonus product for free!”
These are the most common announcements that you will see in malls as it attracts people in being more frugal by purchasing the product at half the price.
It also attracts people in getting a free product just to show that they were the ones who got another one or a different product for free.
Some may also show this propaganda at work such as those who offer early time-outs at work for limited workers only (something that often happens in BPO companies).
This event at work attracts many people in getting a time-out because for sure most employees would love to log-out at work very early.
The Bandwagon appeal is neutral in all aspects because it’s always up to the person who sees or reads the propaganda.
Thus, it’s their decision to join those who support the cause or not.
After all, we always have the free will if we consider something as “cool” pr “acceptable” just like how others perceive it.
It’s like letting the people talk about the product’s capability in a positive manner.
This is one of the strongest means of promoting nowadays, especially that we now live in an age where fake news and false claims are getting more common.
Due to the motive of testimonial, it could also be used as part of a bandwagon propaganda as well.
Most Popular Examples
Anti-smoking campaigns such as this one from QuitNow often show an interview of a former smoker who suffered from a terrible disease.
The help of the testimonial could show the potential dangers of smoking to those who haven’t experienced the illness that the interviewee got when he was still a smoker.
A testimonial-rich advocacy often has strong impact to its audience to feel inspired if it’s a success story.
However, the audience might feel scared if the testimonial might be of something traumatic or disturbing (e.g. having a disease from smoking or someone who committed suicide due to frequent bullying).
Either way, it often results in its audience to become supportive to the advocacy.
2. Marketing Strategies
Some advertisements even use celebrities or models as the people who will talk about the testimonial.
The celebrity will then talk about their experience in using the product and its effects as proof.
This mostly happens in beauty products and certain medicines/supplements.
Product reviews online could also serve as testimonials for promoting the product’s quality.
3. For Boosting Reputation
Groups who oppose politicians can gather more members if their propaganda contains people who were mistreated by the politician or the government.
This can raise the reputation of the group to the point where they become stronger.
It could also be used by politicians themselves but in a way where they will let other people know about their good qualities.
The people used politically as a strategy or just to show that they are actually worthy of the people’s votes.
Some people at work could also use this technique in order to gain the respect of their bosses if an employee wishes to get promoted.
Testimonials are all about letting others talk about your advocacy. It has a very positive impact to many people because we always find proof over good things.
That’s why whenever we encounter a person or a product that claims to be of good characteristic, we always look for proofs from other people.
The card stacking propaganda is an action that’s mean to make an argument biased.
This is where advertisers or politicians will continuously talk about the good qualities of whatever they are promoting.
A lot of political advertisements and medicine advertisements often use the card stacking approach in order to gain the attention of their target audience.
Card stacking can be easily combined with any type of propaganda in order to strengthen the statement of one’s message or advocacy.
Most Popular Examples
1. Campaign Purposes
Whether it’s before or after the elections, card stacking is common in politics.
Political parties will fill their audience with positive details on how their candidates can help out.
However, even if there are known negative traits about the candidate, the party will never mention anything about it.
Promoting a candidate before the elections are often filled with card stacking propaganda just to make people believe that they are the right person to vote.
Some other groups such as religious ministries can also use this propaganda.
An example of it is that a pastor who set up a church in a poor community often feeds people who will listen to their words.
They will also talk about how they will be saved by whoever they believe in as well.
Most religious leaders often show great characteristics when it comes to those whom they worship, as it leads people into believing the religion.
Some religions with diversities (e.g. Christians having various denominations) often use their respective creeds and backgrounds in order to persuade people towards conversion to their denomination.
This results in rivalries between different denominations, which often happens in Christian denominations.
3. Pitching Sales
Card stacking is known to be one of the most powerful techniques in pitching sales. Salesmen and many other advertisements often show good qualities of the product only.
It’s because businesses have one belief that one negative trait can greatly lower a product or a brand’s reputation.
That’s why many advertisements are always sugar-coated with a product’s benefits, but contains zero disadvantages about the product.
Card stacking always portrays positive qualities about the product.
However, the audience may not believe this type of propaganda if an opposing testimonial or a name calling strategy against the message is proven to be truer.
The transfer propaganda can help the audience think that they are part of a certain scenario where the propaganda is being employed.
It often uses an entitled personality such as a politician or a celebrity in order to promote one’s message.
It’s basically associating yourself with the credibility of the person you’re mentioning.
Most Popular Examples
1. Health-Related Propaganda
For example, associating the product you’re selling with how a famous celebrity uses it can be used as a way for people to purchase your product.
This is often popular with expensive supplements who claim that world-class athletes use it.
As a result, your audience may think that you’re living a lifestyle that’s as healthy as the athlete if you say that you’re also using the supplement that you sell.
The Transfer Propaganda is widely used in ads.
People will often believe the product’s credibility if the audience likes the celebrity that’s promoting the product. It makes the audience feel like they are “similar” to their favorite celebrity as they both use the same product.
Some people who are proud of their countries may like to purchase a product that shows the country’s rich culture or its flag in the advertisement.
This can make them feel like they are proud countrymen if they buy the product in question.
However, you may confuse transfer with the plain folks propaganda on certain advertisements.
But the truth is that it could be a combination if a celebrity uses a product that’s for the “masses”.
PROPAGANDA: COMBINING LOGIC AND EMOTION FOR A CERTAIN GOAL
Propaganda is very powerful as it can manipulate both logic an emotion in letting your audience believe what you have to say.
That’s why many politicians strategically practice these propaganda in their many campaigns so then they can get support from the people without question.
Advertisements can also contain propaganda that’s not actually as honest as what they claim in their messages.
That’s why students must be wary about the specifics of the various types of propaganda as they can exploit these in making better decisions as they grow up.
They can even use it to develop their own message if they wish to change the world.
After all, the students will soon become individuals who can shape the world someday.