Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access July 2, 2020

Persuasive appeals in Jordanian and Algerian telecommunication television commercials

  • Ghaleb Rabab’ah EMAIL logo , Lydia Idir and Sharif Alghazo
From the journal Open Linguistics


The present study seeks to explore the link between persuasion and advertising by examining the persuasive appeals used by telecommunication companies in Jordanian and Algerian television commercials. To this end, 12 television advertisements (six from Jordan and six from Algeria) were randomly selected from YouTube. The data were analysed based on previous categorisations of persuasive appeals. The findings revealed that both groups of advertisements adopted various appeals to persuade their target audience to purchase products and experience their services, and that the most widely used appeals were play on words, brand, celebrity and music appeals. These findings provide insights into the value of understanding how persuasion is used in media discourse and in different linguistic and cultural milieus.

1 Introduction

The rapid revolution of technology has turned the world into a small village and made it essential for people to communicate with others in this new globe. In this respect, different mediums of communication exist, with the electronic media being one of the most commonly used mediums. This situation has created new avenues for marketing through commercials that are broadcast on the radio or television channels. These commercials are carefully designed to reach out to the intended audience and cause the intended persuasive effect. Therefore, effective television commercials involve well-designed persuasive advertisements which would achieve the objectives of leaving a positive impact on the target audience and persuading them to purchase the product. This is usually achieved by using an attractive design of the product that would affect the consumers psychologically and, more powerfully, persuasive language that would lead consumers to purchase the product.

Persuasion is a concept that is related to many disciplines including – but by no means limited to – advertising. Wahl and Morris (2018: 4) define persuasion as “the process of attempting to change or reinforce attitudes, values, beliefs, or behavior.” This definition alludes to two important functions of persuasion: completely changing attitudes and behaviours and/or strengthening already existing attitudes and behaviours. Both functions are paramount in advertising which, as Crystal and Davy (1983) argue, has to both inform and persuade the target audience. Advertising is a common form of media discourse which is “an escapable fact of life in our time” (Freitas 2014: 505). One of the broad definitions of advertising is that posited by Wells et al. (1998: 13) who state that “[a]dvertising is paid nonpersonal communication from an identified sponsor using mass media to persuade or influence an audience” (emphasis in original). Clearly, as noted above, persuasion figures in this and other definitions of advertising.

This study is concerned with the use of persuasive language in television commercials by exploring the types of persuasive appeals used by telecommunication companies to promote their products and services. The study is contrastive in its exploration of persuasive appeals in Jordanian and Algerian television commercials. Although Jordan and Algeria are Arab countries, they manifest some differences that could be attributed to their respective cultures. Each country has its own cultural and social norms which would result in differences in the way they design their commercials and the use of persuasive language. Thus, the objective of this cross-cultural study is to provide evidence of any differences and/or commonalities in using persuasive language in media discourse, particularly in television commercials.

2 Persuasion theoretical frameworks

Aristotle’s (trans. 2007) framework is one of the most popular frameworks for analysing persuasion in communication. A crucial bedrock of his reasoning is evidence; that is, persuasion works more effectively when evidence is strong. This evidence, as he argues, can be presented by means of three strategies: ethos, logos and pathos. Ethos is related to the character and personality of the utterance producer, logos is concerned with the reasoning of the argument, and pathos has to do with the producer’s passion. These strategies or principles work more successfully when used collectively because each principle aims to change or reinforce receivers’ attitudes and/or behaviours from a particular perspective. Ethos, for example, works to “build a bridge of trust and confidence with another person”, logos is “the work of the head … [and works for] building a logical, rational, persuasive and defensible argument”, and pathos “is the work of the heart” and works “to demonstrate feeling and sympathy or suffering” (Thompson 1998: 8–9).

Mueller (1987) devised a framework for analysing persuasive appeals in advertising based on a cross-cultural study of Japanese and American advertising appeals. In her model, Mueller found 10 types of appeals that are achieved by various strategies. The appeal types are grouped into two major categories: traditional and modern appeals, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Mueller’s (1987: 52–3) model of persuasive appeals

Traditional Modern or westernised
1. Group consensus which shows how the individual relates to the group 1. Individual and independence in which individual are seen as distinct from others
2. Soft-sell where emotions are highlighted through beautiful scenes 2. Hard-sell which emphasises brand names and features
3. Elderly and traditional in which the wisdom and advice of the elderly are stressed 3. Youth and modernity in which stress is on contemporariness and youth
4. Status in which the position of a person or thing is used such as leading figures 4. Product merit where the benefits and features of the product are highlighted
5. Oneness with nature where the relationship between man and nature is stressed 5. Manipulation of nature where “man’s superiority over nature is reflected” (p. 53)

Based on Gantz et al. (2007) and Kelly et al. (2010), Boyland et al. (2012) analysed food advertising for children on the UK television channels. The results showed that promotional characters, celebrity endorsers, premium offers and brand equity characters were used more frequently. In their study, Vilaro et al. (2017) found that both healthy and unhealthy food advertisements contain a similar amount of persuasive techniques. These techniques include appeals associated with the characters (credibility of the speaker), the product with fun, loud fast music or sound effects (Sound appeal), excitement and energy including showing characters running, jumping or playing sports (Action appeal), giveaways including free prizes and celebrities or sport figures (Celebrity appeal). Similarly, Busse (2018) examined advertising of healthy and unhealthy food and beverage products across television, Facebook, outdoors and bodegas. In examining the persuasive strategies used, the persuasive techniques that were associated with food and beverage advertisements were appeals to the flavour/taste/smell/texture, nutritional quality, competitive/unique, and newness of the product; emotional and family bonding (social appeal) were frequent.

This study examines persuasive appeals in telecommunication companies’ advertisements using a taxonomy the researchers of the present study develop based on previous research and taxonomies (Mueller 1987, Aristotle, trans. 2007, Gantz et al. 2007, Cheong et al. 2010, Kelly et al. 2010, Lindstrom 2011, Boyland et al. 2012, Rabab’ah and Khawaldeh 2016, Vilaro et al. 2017, Busse 2018). This taxonomy includes 14 persuasive appeals: music, celebrity endorsement, social, emotional, rational, brand, play on words, humour, appeal for price, adventure, youth and modernity, snob, statistics and personal appeals.

3 Literature review

Advertising is one of the most common tools to promote products and convince consumers to purchase them. In addition, as Thorson and Rodgers (2012) note, advertising has other effects on the wider economy. For example, advertising functions to introduce goods and services which ultimately support the economy. Therefore, advertising companies use different mediums to promote products and reach out to the target audience. Of these mediums, television remains one of the most widely viewed by consumers. Thus, commercial companies design their advertisements with audio and visual features to fit in this popular medium. They, for example, use persuasive appeals to achieve the intended effect because, as Dix and Marchegiani (2013, p. 393) argue, appeals are “the sticky glue that hooks the reader or viewer to the advertising message.”

Studies on persuasion have, in the main, adopted two theoretical stances: rhetoric and advertising. Of the ones that examined persuasion from a rhetorical perspective is that conducted by Phillips and McQuarrie (2004) who found that the rhetorical theory of persuasion is essential to understanding how advertising works. In this regard, it has been found that studies which adopted a rhetorical stance relied primarily on Aristotle who is the father of rhetoricians and was the first to categorise persuasion into ethos, logos and pathos (Aristotle, trans. 2007). According to Aristotle (trans. 2007), ethos is defined as “the projection of the character of the speaker as trustworthy” (p. 15), pathos refers to the “consideration of the emotions of people in the audience”, and logos is defined as “inductive and deductive logical argument.” In simpler terms, ethos is concerned with the credibility of the producer; pathos is concerned with the audience’s emotions and logos with the consistency, clarity and effectiveness of the message.

Drawing on Aristotle’s categorisation of persuasive appeals, Rabab’ah and Khawaldeh (2016) analysed six television advertisements (three in Arabic and three in English) related to marketing electronics, particularly televisions, air conditioners and cameras that were selected from YouTube. The findings indicated that both groups of advertisements adopted numerous appeals to persuade the target audience to purchase their products. The findings also showed that the most used appeals in the sample were emotional, rational and play on words. According to Aristotle’s categorisation, pathos was the most used appeal. The study additionally found that most of the messages were implicitly conveyed.

In the field of advertising, Mueller (1987) conducted a cross-cultural study in which she examined Japanese and American television advertisements in order to explore the link between commercial messages and the cultural values of society. A sample of print advertisements from widely read magazines was analysed, with American advertisements being a norm against which the degree of westernization in the Japanese advertisements was compared. The results showed that both groups of advertisements manifested differences in degree rather than in kind and the advertisements in both countries implemented the same 10 basic advertising appeals.

Some studies looked at how persuasive appeals are used in television advertisements that are addressed to children. For example, Boyland et al. (2012) recorded 18,888 advertisements broadcast on UK television channels to promote food. The authors found that “promotional characters, celebrity endorsers and premium offers were used more frequently to promote non-core than core foods” (p. 658). In addition, the results indicated that an extensive use of persuasive appeals was found to promote unhealthy products to children despite calls to regulate advertisements addressed to children.

Further in relation to the impact of persuasive appeals on consumers, Akbari (2015) examined the effects of different persuasive appeals on the consumers’ attitudes and decisions using quasi-experimental design. The appeals were related to the involvement level of the product. The participants were 160 undergraduate university students in Iran. The results showed that both rational and emotional appeals positively influenced the attitudes and decisions of the participants. As for the involvement level of the product, emotional appeals proved more effective with low involvement products.

Biria and Hassani (2016) carried out a qualitative study on the discoursal differences among advertising techniques in two different types of institutes focusing on the distinct lexicon used to attract customers. A sample of advertisements of English-language institutes was selected. Using multimodal discourse analysis, the researchers analysed the advertising techniques used, paying close attention to the syntactic and semantic features of the language and the pictorial features used. The findings demonstrated that there were some discoursal differences which were essentially attributed to gender, educational and financial background of the target institute. In addition, some lexical features have been found to affect the type of the advertising techniques.

Monsefi et al. (2017) examined the rhetorical features of Persian news headlines by analysing wordplay as a significant strategy of persuasion. A sample of 100 online news headlines of Euro news was analysed using textual rhetorical analysis and Leigh’s (1994) taxonomy of wordplay. The findings revealed that the Persian news headlines of Euro news contained different types of wordplay, with tropes, or more specifically metonymies, being the most widely used. The analysis also showed that there was no use of other types such as oxymorons, parodies, anthimerias, polysyndetons, anadiploses, antimetaboles, epistrophes, climaxes and polyptotons. In the same vein, Gorbaniuk (2016) investigated the need appeals that dominate television commercials of material products in Poland. The researcher used content analysis to analyse a sample of 418 television commercials. The analysis – that was later validated by 10 judges – showed that the dominant role of lower order needs is prevalent in the commercials.

Rizwan et al. (2013) explored how producers make their advertisements persuasive. In particular, the researchers sought to understand the role of emotional and rational appeals in advertising. The data were collected from the students and scholars of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Punjab, Pakistan. The findings indicated that rational appeals are significant to increase the power of persuasion in advertising. The results also revealed that rational appeals are more significant than emotional appeals and that the emotional appeals have a psychological impact on the consumers.

In closing, we notice – upon reviewing existing literature on persuasion in advertising – that most studies were conducted in Western contexts and that very few studies examined the issue in other contexts, and less so in the Arab World. This study attempts to fill this gap in research on persuasion in media discourse by exploring the persuasive appeals used in television commercials in two Arab countries: Jordan and Algeria. This study also aims to find the similarities and/or differences in the use of these appeals in the two samples. The study represents a follow-up to Rabab’ah and Khawaldeh (2016) who examined interlingual advertisements in English and Arabic. Here intralingual interdialectal advertisements are analysed to explore whether it is language or culture that makes the difference in the use of persuasive appeals in advertising. The following two questions are, therefore, addressed in this study:

  1. What are the persuasive appeals used in Jordanian and Algerian television advertisements?

  2. What are the similarities of and/or differences in the use of persuasive appeals in the two samples?

4 Data collection and analysis

The data of the study were 12 television commercials of four big telecommunication companies (two located in Jordan and two in Algeria) retrieved from YouTube (see Appendix for links). The six Jordanian commercials were designed for Zain and Umniah, and the six Algerian commercials were design for Ooredoo and Djezzy. The duration of each commercial ranged between 35 s and 2 min. The commercials were watched several times to assign the persuasive appeals used. Afterwards, the appeals were classified according to the developed taxonomy. It should be noted that a list of 14 strategies of appeals (see Table 2) were found in the literature on persuasion in advertising (e.g. Boyland et al. 2012, Higgins and Walker 2012, Hornik et al., 2016, Khanna, 2016). To analyse the data, a mixed-method approach was adopted. The quantitative approach was used to measure the frequencies and percentages of the various types of appeals found in both samples. The qualitative approach allowed for developing a method of coding of the specific elements that characterise the commercials. After transcribing the advertisements, the content analysis approach – as one of the most commonly used research techniques in mass communication – was used to assign appeals to instances of language.

Table 2

Frequencies and percentages of the persuasive appeals used in the two samples

Types of persuasive appeals Jordanian commercials Algerian commercials Total
1. Music 5 (14.3%) 6 (13%) 11 (13.6%)
2. Celebrity endorsement 3 (8.6%) 4 (8.7%) 7 (8.6%)
3. Social 4 (11.4%) 4 (8.7%) 8 (9.9%)
4. Emotional 3 (8.6%) 4 (8.7%) 7 (8.6%)
5. Rational 3 (8.6%) 3 (6.5%) 6 (7.4%)
6. Brand 6 (17.1%) 6 (13%) 12 (14.8%)
7. Play on words 6 (17.1%) 6 (13%) 12 (14.8%)
8. Humour 1 (2.9%) 3 (6.5%) 4 (4.9%)
9. Appeal for price 1 (2.9%) 2 (4.3%) 3 (3.7%)
10. Adventure 1 (2.9%) 2 (4.3%) 3 (3.7%)
11. Youth and modernity 2 (5.7%) 3 (6.5%) 5 (6.2%)
12. Snob 0 1 (2.2%) 1 (1.2%)
13. Statistics 0 1 (2.2%) 1 (1.2%)
14. Personal 0 1 (2.2%) 1 (1.2%)
Total 35 46 81

Note: percentages are rounded.

5 Results

Analysis of the data produced two types of results: there emerged quantitative results in the form of frequencies and percentages of the use of persuasive appeals in the two samples and qualitative results of the types of appeals used in the corpus. Table 2 presents the quantitative results.

Table 2 shows that 14 appeals were employed by the advertisers in the two samples to grab the viewers’ attention and to persuade them to purchase their products and/or services. However, as shown in Table 2, there were more persuasive appeals in the Algerian sample (N = 46) than in the Jordanian sample (N = 35). As for the individual appeals, the results indicate that play on words and brand were the most widely used appeals in both samples, with 12 occurrences each. The former is classified under hard-sell appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal in which the product’s pros are shown using slogans. Examples of this appeal may include words/phrases such as “number one”, “leader”, and “your best choice”. The latter is also classified under hard-sell appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal in which the brand name is highlighted among consumers who are brand-conscious.

The second most widely used appeal is the music appeal, with 11 occurrences. This appeal is classified under soft-self appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal that plays a role in attracting consumers by creating a loving mood and atmosphere. The third appeal is the social appeal, with eight occurrences. This appeal is used to attract viewers’ attention by giving them a sense of belonging to a social affiliation or status and a key to find joy in making friends and social circles. The fourth most frequent appeals are celebrity endorsement and emotional appeals, with seven occurrences each. The former is classified under status appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal in which celebrities and famous people are included in the advertisement to encourage and persuade consumers who are fans of these celebrities and famous figures. The latter is classified under soft-self appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal in which the narration of an emotional story or the use of a beautiful scene is used to cause an emotional effect on the receivers.

The fifth most frequent appeals are rational and youth appeals, with six and five occurrences, respectively. The former is classified under product merit appeals in Mueller’s (1987) framework and is described as an appeal in which the focus is on the product and its characteristics using pictures and/or narration. The latter emphasises the attraction of young consumers by highlighting modernity and youth. The sixth group of appeals include humour, appeal for price and adventure, with four, three and three occurrences, respectively. The humour appeal is used to make people laugh at a given joke with the aim of making them feel attracted and purchase the product. In the appeal for price, advertisers generally use low prices in the advertisement to persuade consumers to purchase the product. In the adventure appeal, the advertisers put more emphasis on the sense of adventure to highlight the benefits of their products or services.

The least widely used appeals were snob, personal and statistics which were not used in the Jordanian sample and were minimally found in the Algerian sample, with one occurrence each. The snob appeal is mainly used to motivate the viewers to own a product or service. The personal appeal is specifically used to create emotional responses in the audience encouraging them to purchase products. Finally, the statistic appeal involves the use of numbers and percentages to persuade consumers of a product or service.

As for the qualitative results, analysis of the data revealed that both samples used appeals in different ways that reflect cultural differences. However, these differences were not patterned; that is, each company used appeals that are thought to achieve the intended outcome of convincing consumers. An analysis of the Algerian advertisements is given in the following section. The Arabic transliteration is followed by the English translation.

6 The Algerian advertisements

6.1 Advertisement 1


This advertisement was designed for Ooredoo and is broadcast on the main national channels in Algeria. The basic theme was football which is a sport that is very popular in Algeria. This new product was advertised by using a number of persuasive appeals to softly reach out to the target audience. The advertisement includes music and pictures of popular footballers, such as Zinedine Zidane who is the ambassador of the Ooredoo brand, popular players of the national football team, such as Rabah Madjer, Lakhdar Belloumi and Antar Yahia, and the Olympic champion Noureddine Morceli. This design is an invitation to the Algerians to live the experience and enjoy a feeling of belonging to a group of figures who are all respected by the Algerians and regarded as their idols. Furthermore, the television spot was advertised in the streets in moving images for Algerians to seize the opportunity of being part of this community of players. The social appeal is here used in which the Algerians feel affiliated to this community, and the emotional appeal in the form of happiness, and the statistical appeal in which the number of likes were shown. In addition, the use of linguistic persuasion was also evident in the advertisement. The popular player, Zinedine Zidane, sends a message to viewers – by saying in French, “Venez vivre l’expérience Ooredoo” (Come and live the Ooredoo experience!) and “Ooredoo diima plus!” (Ooredoo is always on top.) and in the Algerian dialect “Haya!” (Let’s go!)” – to invite viewers to join Ooredoo. Here, two appeals were used: the brand appeal and play on words.

6.2 Advertisement 2


This is another advertisement for Ooredoo in which it announces the launch of an exceptional family offer called “Sahla Box” (Easy box). This advertisement was endorsed through a number of persuasive appeals to convince the target audience of the product. First, the brand of the product is highlighted at the beginning of the advertisement and music is used to create a pleasant atmosphere to hook the audience. Furthermore, the personal and social appeals are utilised in a way that shows the product to be satisfactory of the needs of all the family members. Linguistic persuasion in the form of logos corresponding to the rational appeal in our classification is also evident in the use of language expressions as shown in the conversation that took place:

Girl: ʔana ʔana Facebook, Instagram, Snapshat, w YouTube. (I I Facebook, Instagram, Snapshat, and YouTube)

Promoter: Sahla ʕandak šehar internet w tabqay connecter ђtaa yxlaslak le forfait. (Easy! You will benefit from an unlimited connection and free reduced-speed after exhaustion of the monthly data volume).

Mother: Wana nђab nahdar bezaf mʕa yemma. (And I like talking with my mother all the time)

Promoter: Sahla ʕandak les appels illimitès f daar. (Easy! You have unlimited calls at home)

Boy: ʔana nђab natʕalam w nšouf les filmes w nalʕab en ligne. (I like learning, watching movies and playing games online).

Promoter: Sahla ʕandak haya qraa? stars play, w surʕat l’internet raђ tsaʕdak. (Easy! You have haya qraa, stars play and the internet speed will help you.)

The snob appeal was achieved by the promoter mentioning all the functions of the product which created a sense of desire on the family’s faces. In addition, play on words and humour were achieved when the father says the following with an intonation that makes it funny and catchy: “Iða koulši sahl samouha ‘sahla’ wxlas” (Since everything is easy, why not to call it ‘easy’) and “Sahla baš·taʕjab lʕayla” (It is easy when it is liked by a family.). Moreover, the rational appeal was achieved by showing the different aspects of the product as “20Go” while appeal for price was achieved by the utterance “Motwafar fl ђiin b 6990AD, w istafadou bi 1000 DA mokalamat majaaniya” (available immediately with 6990AD, and benefit with 1000DA free calls).

6.3 Advertisement 3


As seen, Ooredoo launches an offer related to the first music streaming application in Algeria “Haya! Music” in that subscribers will enjoy the use of Haya! Music and will have the opportunity to access all the music in the world for free and directly on their mobile phones for 30 days. This new application was promoted through a number of persuasive appeals to convince the viewers to experience the service. The brand appeal was achieved by headlining the brand on the foreground of the advertisement. This appeal was followed by the music appeal in which a girl turned on the application displaying a song by Michael Jackson (celebrity appeal) to which a young man in the street was attracted. This situation was repeated twice. Here two appeals were also achieved, namely, emotional and adventure. Furthermore, play on words and rational appeals were evident in the use of such catchy and logical utterances:

  1. “l’application lowla taʕ le-mosiqa fl Djazaʔir wli tlqa fiha gaʕ les styles taʕ le-mosiqa li tђabha” (The first application of music in Algeria, where you can find all the styles of music you like.)

  2. “La super promo taʕ ooredoo li Haya Music šehar ʕliina w šehar ʕliik” (The super promotion of Ooredoo Haya Music one month by us and one month by you”.

  3. “Ooredoo ʕiš l’internet” (Ooredoo live the internet.)

In addition, celebrity endorsement and appeal for price were manifested through the incorporation of the popular Algerian young singer Moh Paco and through the utterance “šehar gratuité” translated as “A month for free”, respectively.

6.4 Advertisement 4


This advertisement was designed for Djezzy, another communication service-provider company in Algeria. It was launched in the holy month of Ramadan and highlighted new features of the service. This advertisement included a number of persuasive appeals to grab the attention of the audience and to make them purchase the service. First, music and play on words appeals are used by displaying a song performed by a group of young men in which the lyrics was aimed to attract the consumers’ attention: “Gusto yaђla mʕa nasi ki tkon connexion partager, mziya ʕandna Djezzy hadra ʕla lgalb” (Enjoyment is appreciated when being surrounded by my friend and when the Internet is shared; fortunately we have Djezzy.). Furthermore, endorsement and humour appeals are utilised by the association with a comedian actor. In addition, brand appeal was achieved by showing the brand’s name and ending up with the same hook that places it as the reference quality of its sector: “Ghir Djezzy li diirha kima Djezzy” (There is only Djezzy to do Djezzy!).

6.5 Advertisement 5


Djezzy in this advertisement launches an offer for summer using the theme “xali lfarђa tdoum” (Let the joy last!), with a number of activities in international airports and the beaches of many coastal cities. This advertisement was designed through a number of persuasive appeals aiming at convincing the target audience to purchase the service. First, the music appeal was used to create an enjoyable atmosphere through stimulating lyrics that promote the service and the beauty of Algeria to attract the tourists who come during summer. Play on words, brand and emotional appeals were also apparent through showing a group of people enjoying their time, dancing and singing the words of the theme. In addition, social and celebrity endorsement were achieved through the association of famous and talented singers who sing in different dialects to show a kind of social affiliation and acceptance and more importantly to show the cultural diversity of Algeria.

6.6 Advertisement 6


Djezzy here surprises the consumers with its exceptional offers. This time, it is the Djezzy Hadra offer that allows them to make unlimited calls at a lower price and be able to speak in unlimited and free after the third minute. This advertisement contained a number of persuasive appeals to influence viewers. First, play on words and rational appeals were evident in the use of influencing utterances such as “Derna Djezzy hadra li tʕayat lkoul lʕayla” (We have made a new offer of Djezzy for all the family.). In addition, celebrity endorsement and humour appeals were used through the association with the comedian Kabyle actress Ouaabd Slam Fadila with her character and attitude that created a kind of funny and humorous environment. The social appeal was also achieved by showing a group of people who like to talk all the time on the phone with their families. The brand appeal was demonstrated through the slogan “Makanš hadra, bla Djezzy hadra” (No talk, without Djezzy hadra).

7 The Jordanian advertisements

7.1 Advertisement 1


This advertisement and the following two were designed for Zain, a big telecommunication company in Jordan. It is notice that Zain launches a new application named ‘Showapp’. This advertisement included a number of persuasive appeals to convince consumers. First, the music appeal was used to create an amusing atmosphere to attract viewers. Second, the emotional appeal is used by showing how the application turns the feelings of annoyance and displeasure to amusement and astonishment. In addition, play on words was utilised through the catchy speech of the narrator:

  1. “Zahgaan w moš ʕarif šou saayir ђawaliik w ma bidak tkoun zay ʔal ʔatraš b zafa, ђamil tatbiiq showapp” (You are bored and you do not know what is going on, download the Showapp)

  2. ʔal hayat ʔasehal w idjtimaʕi aktar maʕa showapp” (The life is easy and sociable with Showapp)

Furthermore, social and rational appeals were evident by showing that the uniqueness and prestige of those who use the application as they have access to many things that others lack, such as cultural and musical events, offers of malls, special occasions and latest movies. Moreover, the humour appeal was shown through the attitude of the waiter and his use of language when he asks and answers the question himself, making the principal actor astonished and surprised: “Baša ʔinta ʕawiz ʔiiš badak gahwa wala gambaziil, gambaziil” (Sir, what do you want: coffee or gambaziil?). Finally, the brand appeal was apparent by highlighting the brand’s name to show its credibility which was accompanied with particular music creating its own identity.

7.2 Advertisement 2


Zain Jordan launches an exceptional offer that calls for entrepreneurship in Jordan by providing Jordanian entrepreneurs with the requirements to transform their creative ideas into productive projects. This advertisement contained various persuasive appeals to attract the target audience. First, play on words was evident in the use of slogans and instances of language such as:

  1. “Natabana mafhouman djadidan liqowat ʔatawasol biʔaʕla lmaʕayiir” (Zain defines the ongoing power of high-tech telecom.)

  2. “Falnabni haða le-balad wa le-naxdim haðihi lʔoma” (Let’s build this country and serve this population.)

Second, the brand appeal was clear by showing the brand’s name Zain. Furthermore, celebrity endorsement was apparent through the association of a leading figure, King Abdullah II of Jordan. Moreover, the social appeal was shown through the feeling of social affiliation to a particular group: in this case, people who are interested in technology and modern innovations. Finally, the youth appeal was evident in the deification of the younger generation.

7.3 Advertisement 3


Zain in this advertisement launches the fourth-generation service in Jordan, which is used to boost the speed capacity of the service. This advertisement included a number of persuasive appeals to endorse the viewers. First, play on words was used through the catchy utterances such as “ʔelʕalm byamši bsorʕa bas ʔel net ʔasraʕ w halaʔ la ʔasraʕ saar ʕandak mn zain 4G” (The world is going fast but the Internet is faster and much better from Zain 4G). Such catchy phrase is used to attract viewers by the display of creativity. Feldwick (2015) argues that “the role of creativity is neither to persuade nor to seduce, but merely to create images that are closely linked to the brand which lodge in the long-term memory” (p. 137). Second, the rational appeal was shown in mentioning the different functions of this new service by means of language such as “fi le-biit, fi sayara, fi riђla, w fi le-maktab” (At home, in the car, in a trip and in the office.). In addition, the brand appeal and appeal for price were used: the former was achieved by highlighting the brand’s name and the latter through the narrator’s words: “Wal ʔasʕar monasiba wb taʔdar textar tariiqat ʔel dafʕ ʔili btrayђak” (The prices are reasonable and you can choose the way that helps you to pay.).

7.4 Advertisement 4


This advertisement and the next two were designed for Umniah, another telecommunication company in Jordan. A number of persuasive appeals were employed to promote this new product. First, celebrity endorsement and music appeals were exhibited through the inclusion of the famous Jordanian singer Omar Alabdullat who is famous for traditional and national songs. Here it is clear that the advertisement was intended to emphasise the Jordanian culture. Furthermore, social and emotional appeals were used by showing the feelings of affiliation and integration into the Jordanian culture and those of enjoyment and happiness, respectively. In addition, play on words and brand appeals were used through the use of the catchy phrases like “Umniah: tajmaʕna ʔalkilma w ygaribna sout” (Umniah: the word unites us and the sound brings us closer.)

7.5 Advertisement 5


Umniah launches products and services that allow customers to benefit from an unlimited connection with a high speed. This advertisement contained diverse persuasive appeals to seduce its viewers. First, as was the case in the previous advertisement, celebrity endorsement and music appeals are used by the inclusion of the Jordanian singer Omar Alabdullat to endorse for the product by emphasising the cultural part of Jordan. A quiet and sentimental Bedouin music was included alongside the display of pictures of Wadi Ram in the background. In addition, play on words, rational and emotional appeals were demonstrated through the lyrics of the song: “Mahma tatoul lmasafaat ʔa sout yagaribna asmaʕ sada” (Even though the distance makes us apart, the sound gathers us.), and “ʔanta daʔiman daxil nitaq ʔal xidma li ʕadam ʔal ʔizʕadj yordja ighlaq hatifika le-xalawiy” (You are always connected, for not being distracted, switch off your mobile.). The emotional appeal was achieved by fostering the feeling of destruction, anxiety and frustration and the brand appeal was achieved by headlining the brand’s name Umniah.

7.6 Advertisement 6


In this advertisement, Umniah launches a new marketing campaign for its products and services targeting young people aged 18–25. This advertisement included a number of persuasive appeals. First, music and emotional appeals were used to hook the targeted young people and create a kind of lively and exciting atmosphere. Second, play on words and brand appeals were demonstrated through the use of the influential utterance which highlights the brand’s name: “Umniah ʔintami” (With Umniah you belong.) The last two important appeals exhibited here are youth and social appeals. The former was demonstrated through the persuasive speech which targeted the new generation, and the latter was evident in the use of utterances that show social acceptance of this young generation and the feeling of inclusion and affiliation to a particular group.

8 Discussion

It may be recollected that the study addressed two main questions to achieve its objective of exploring the persuasive appeals used in media discourse and the differences and/or commonalities between the Jordanian and Algerian commercials in the use of these appeals. These questions were answered in the analysis presented in the previous section and are discussed in this section. The first research question was as follows:

  1. What are the persuasive appeals used in Jordanian and Algerian television advertisements?

    By answering this question, the analysis above showed that 14 appeals were employed in both samples of television advertisements: music, celebrity endorsement, social, personal, emotional, rational, brand, play on words, humour, appeal for price, adventure, snob, statistics, youth and modernity. The results specifically indicated that the advertising appeals are intended to persuade the consumers by causing a psychological and emotional impact on the viewers which ultimately leads them to purchase products and services. Of the 14 appeals, the most frequently used were play on words, brand and music; these were followed by social, celebrity endorsement, emotional and rational appeals. The least frequently used were humour, appeal for price and adventure. The analysis also showed that the analysed advertisements recorded similar numbers of instances: brand (six instances each), play on words (six instances each), social (four instances each) and rational (four instances each). However, the Algerian television advertisements recorded more instances of the remaining appeals. In addition, the results also revealed that these advertisements employed rational and emotional appeals.

    The second research question was as follows:

  2. What are the similarities and/or differences in the use of persuasive appeals in the two samples?

By answering the second research question, the findings revealed that the Algerian television advertisements used more persuasive appeals than the Jordanian ones, with 46 and 35 occurrences, respectively. In particular, music, endorsement, emotional, humour, appeal for price, adventure and youth recorded the highest occurrences. In addition, it was also found that some appeals were only used in the Algerian television advertisements and did not occur in the Jordanian ones. These included snobs, personal and statistics which also recorded low occurrences (one instance each) in the Algerian sample.

It is worth highlighting the fact that these appeals were employed differently by advertisers to achieve their goal of reaching out to the viewers and persuading them to purchase their products and services. This choice seemed to be intentional in the majority of cases. However, in few cases, cultural differences are noticeable. For example, in the use of music and singing in various dialects, the Algerian advertisers focused on the goal of reaching out to all people who speak different dialect; this is a situation that was not noticed in the Jordanian advertisements as a single dialect is often used in television commercials. In addition, although both countries belong to the Arab World, there appear to be cultural differences because of the geographical place of each country as well as the political history of each. Algeria is closer to Europe and exhibits many of the European aspects, particularly those relating to France which has a great influence on the country. What is more, French is the language of a large number of the Algerians. However, Jordan keeps good ties with its neighbouring countries, particularly the Arab countries and Turkey, which share many of its cultural norms and traditions. These differences may have affected the way these advertisements were designed because they reflect the designers’ understanding of how viewers react to these advertisements. Therefore, it could be argued that the cultural elements played an important role in using and adopting the appeals in both samples.

9 Conclusion

The study has examined how persuasive appeals are used in television advertisements in Jordan and Algeria. It was found that many appeals were similar in the two samples. However, some appeals were found to be used in the Algerian sample and not in the Jordanian sample. These differences, however, may be described as differences in degree and in kind. Almost all appeals were found in the advertisements of both countries but to varying degrees. This comparison between both television advertisement samples has shown that the consumers in these two countries are surprisingly similar in many ways. They are exposed to almost the same basic advertising appeals except for three types which were not found to be adopted in the Jordanian advertisements. Also, the advertisements of each country exhibit some degrees of sensitivity to the cultural uniqueness of the particular consuming market. The key here is that advertising reflects cultural values only so long as it is profitable to do so. It is important to note that although the quantitative difference between the types of appeals used in the two groups is of value to the analysis, the cultural difference is more important, particularly that the Algerian advertisements included different dialects of Algerian Arabic, as opposed to the Jordanian advertisements which used the same dialect.

Although the findings of this study are important to the field of media discourse in general and persuasive appeals in advertising in particular, it is limited in the sample size. Thus, any generalisations are not possible. However, the study has some implications for advertisers who should be attentive when adopting the persuasive appeals in their television commercials and should be careful to show the quality of their products to make it more attractive to viewers. The advertisers should now consider information about the product’s availability and about how advertising appeals such as emotional and rational appeals can be used to influence the target audience. Future research may study the effectiveness of various persuasive appeals on the consumers by means of longitudinal investigations where the sales of products are examined pre- and post-advertising.


List of advertisements and YouTube Link

Algerian advertisements

Advertisement 1 – (

Advertisement 2 – (

Advertisement 3 – (

Advertisement 4 – (

Advertisement 5 – (

Advertisement 6 – (

Jordanian advertisements

Advertisement 1 – (

Advertisement 2 – (

Advertisement 3 – (

Advertisement 4 – (

Advertisement 5 – (

Advertisement 6 – (


Akbari, M. 2015. “Different impacts of advertising appeals on advertising attitude for high and low involvement products.” Global Business Review 16 (3): 478–93.10.1177/0972150915569936Search in Google Scholar

Aristotle. 2007. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, translated by A. G. Roberts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Biria, R., and J. B. Hassani. 2016. “Advertisement techniques: a contrastive study between single-gender and coeducational institutes.” Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research 3 (2): 28–38.Search in Google Scholar

Boyland, E., J. Harrold, T. Kirkham, and J. Halford. 2012. “Persuasive techniques used in television advertisements to market foods to UK children.” Appetite 58: 658–64.10.1016/j.appet.2011.11.017Search in Google Scholar

Busse, P. 2018. “Analysis of advertising in the multimedia environment of children and adolescents in Peru.” Journal of Children and Media 12 (4): 432–47.10.1080/17482798.2018.1431557Search in Google Scholar

Cheong, Y., K. Kim, and L. Zheng. 2010. “Advertising appeals as a reflection of culture: a cross-cultural analysis of food advertising appeals in China and the US.” Asian Journal of Communication 20 (1): 1–1610.1080/01292980903440848Search in Google Scholar

Crystal, D., and D. Davy. 1983. Investigating English Style. Harlow: Longman.Search in Google Scholar

Dix, S., and C. Marchegiani. 2013. “Advertising appeals.” Journal of Promotion Management 19 (4): 393–4.10.1080/10496491.2013.817218Search in Google Scholar

Feldwick, P. 2015. The Anatomy of Humbug: How to Think Differently about Advertising. Kibworth Beauchamp: Matador.Search in Google Scholar

Freitas, E. 2014. “Language of advertising.” In: The Routledge Companion to English Studies, ed. C. Leung and B. Street, 505–16. London: Routledge.10.4324/9781315852515.ch34Search in Google Scholar

Gantz, W., N. Schwartz, J. R. Angelini, and V. Rideout. 2007. Food for thought. Television food advertising to children in the United States. The USA: The Kaiser Family Foundation.Search in Google Scholar

Gorbaniuk, O. 2016. “Need-appeals, benefit-appeals, and brand user-trait-appeals in television advertising: a content analysis of commercials.” Roczniki Psychologiczne/Annals of Psychology 4: 827–39.10.18290/rpsych.2016.19.4-6enSearch in Google Scholar

Higgins, C. and R. Walker. 2012. “Ethos, logos, pathos: strategies of persuasion in social/environmental reports.” Accounting Forum 36: 194–208.10.1016/j.accfor.2012.02.003Search in Google Scholar

Hornik, J., C. Ofir, and M. Rachamim. 2016. “Quantitative evaluation of persuasive appeals using comparative meta-analysis.” The Communication Review 19 (3): 192–222.10.1080/10714421.2016.1195204Search in Google Scholar

Kelly, B., J. C. G. Halford, E. J. Boyland, K. Chapman, I. Bautista-Castano, C. Berg, et al. 2010. “Television food advertising to children: a global perspective.” American Journal of Public Health 100: 1730–6.10.2105/AJPH.2009.179267Search in Google Scholar

Khanna, P. 2016. “A content analysis of emotional and rational appeals in selected products advertising.” IRA-International Journal of Management & Social Sciences 4 (3): 568–78.10.21013/jmss.v4.n3.p7Search in Google Scholar

Leigh, J. H. 1994. “The use of figures of speech in print ad headlines.” Journal of Advertising 23 (2): 17–33.10.1080/00913367.1994.10673439Search in Google Scholar

Lindstrom, M. 2011. Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. New York: Crown Business.Search in Google Scholar

Meyers-Levy, J., and P. Malaviya. 1999. “Consumers’ processing of persuasive advertisements: an integrative framework of persuasion theories.” Journal of Marketing 63, 45–60.Search in Google Scholar

Monsefi, R., T. Sepora, and T. Mahadi. 2017. “The rhetoric of Persian news headlines: a case study of Euronews.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 6 (2): 36–45.10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.6n.2p.36Search in Google Scholar

Mueller, B. 1987. “Reflections of culture: an analysis of Japanese and American advertising appeals.” Journal of Advertising Research 27 (3): 51–9.Search in Google Scholar

O’Shaughnessy, J., and N. J. O’Shaughnessy. 2004. Persuasion in Advertising. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Phillips, B., and E. McQuarrie. 2004. “Beyond visual metaphor: a new typology of visual rhetoric in advertising.” Marketing Theory 4: 113–36.10.1177/1470593104044089Search in Google Scholar

Rabab’ah, G., and M. Khawaldeh. 2016. “Persuasive appeals in English and Arabic TV advertisements: implications for EFL learners and teachers.” Dirasat: Human and Social sciences 43 (5), 2259–71.10.12816/0035120Search in Google Scholar

Rizwan, M., S. Pirzada, A. Sohail, M. Nadeem, and W. Murid. 2013. “The role of advertising appeals, role of celebrity & expert in T.V. advertising attitude.” IOSR Journal of Business and Management 52–7.Search in Google Scholar

Thompson, P. 1998. Persuading Aristotle: The Timeless Art of Persuasion in Business, Negotiation and the Media. NSW: Allen & Unwin.Search in Google Scholar

Thorson, E., and S. Rodgers. 2012. “What does ‘theories of advertising’ mean?” In: Advertising Theory, ed. S. Rodgers, E. Thorson, 3–17. New York: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Vilaro M. J., T. E. Barnett, A. M. Watson, J. W. Merten, and A. E. Mathews. 2017. “Weekday and weekend food advertising varies on children’s television in the USA but persuasive techniques and unhealthy items still dominate.” Public Health, 142: 22–30.10.1016/j.puhe.2016.10.011Search in Google Scholar

Wahl, S., and E. Morris. 2018. Persuasion in Your Life, 2nd edn. New York: Routledge.10.4324/9781315536415Search in Google Scholar

Wells, W., J. Burnett, and S. Moriarty. 1998. Advertising: Principles and Practice. London: Prentice-Hall International Editions.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2020-02-14
Revised: 2020-04-17
Accepted: 2020-05-04
Published Online: 2020-07-02

© 2020 Ghaleb Rabab’ah et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 3.12.2023 from
Scroll to top button