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Propaganda Techniques
Based on a handout from Mrs Kim's class

Propaganda promotes a product, person or idea by appealing to emotion, not reason. Critical consumers will seek evidence, proof, logic.

1. Name calling... links product to a negative word. Seeks to discourage consumption of something by building stigma around it.
- Example: Smelly, fat, weak, poor, difficult; bolshevic, communist, unpatriotic.
- Questions to ask: What does the word mean? Does the product really have a connection to the word? Am I letting go of something I like because of a bad name? Without the name calling, is the point still valid?

2. Glittering generalities... is name calling in reverse, linking a product to a virtuous word. Seeks to encourage consumption by appealing to positive emotion.
- Example: Democracy, patriotism, health, love, civilizationn, good, right, family.
- Questions to ask: What does the word really mean, and does the product really connect to it? Is a product you don't like being sold by giving it a name/quality you do like? Without the glittering generality, is the point still valid?

3. Transfer... builds positive connecitons between products and images that are not logically connected. Seeks to promote product by using the power of something loved or respected. (Note: Transfer deals with images, not words.)
- Example: Church/cross, nation/flag, science or medicine, celebrities, children. (Apple computer campaign.)
- Questions to ask: What does the ad want us to do? Is there a true connection between the product and the symbol? Leaving out the visual image, what are the good points about the product itself?

4. Testimonial... uses celebrity to endorse product. This establishes product's appeal and credibility - although usually, the person is not qualified to make judgements. (Note: testimonials can be made by person, organization or publication.)
- Example: Michael Jordan on Hanes, George Foreman grills, Julianne Moore selling hair dye, political endorsements.
- Questions to ask: Who or what is quoted in the testimonial? Why is this person a trustworthy, knowledgable expert? Without the testimonial, what does the product amount to on its own merits?

5. Plain folks... are just like you! Speakers convince audience that they, and their ideas, are for the common person.
- Example: Most recent presidents have been millionaires, but act like ordinary citizens. Clinton ate at McDonald's, Bush Sr. hated broccoli, Reagan cut wood. Clinton/Bush '92 featured "town hall" meetings, whistle-stop tours, enforcing "regular guy" imagery. The Excedrin commercials.
- Questions to ask: Without the personality, what is the idea? What could the speaker be trying to cover up with the plain folks approach? What are the facts?
- hoi palloi

6. Band Wagon... promotes product by appealing to collective sense of belonging. May appeal to, or attack, audience's gender, nationality, religion, race, job. (Note: recently, this has been paradoxical, appealing to loner/individuality.)
- Example: Beer commercials, clothing ads (Gucci vs Hilfiger)
- Questions to ask: What is the product? How will it affect my popularity or my identity? What evidence supports the product? Regardless of its mass appeal, should I buy it? Does the product help or hurt me?

7. Card Stacking... is a selective use of facts, based on half-truths. Presents only partial information, leaving an inaccurate impression to encourage, or discourage, consumption.
- Example: Four out of five people prefer Prego (to what? Dog poop? Ragu? Tofu?)
- Questions to ask: What are the statistics based on? Relative to what? What are true qualities of product?

8. Other common techniques include: Euphemism, Jargon, Emotional appeals, Repetition, Fear.

What does the ad want you to do?
What is the product, and what are its merits?
What evidence supports the product?
What do the words or images mean?
Is there a true connection between the product and the word or image?
Is the word or image influencing you to buy the product?