ASPCA Tugs at Heartstrings

Over the last couple years, millions of Americans have seen the heartbreaking ASPCA advertisements everywhere they go. In the ad above, a dog is shown looking very sad with words on the side suggesting for the viewers to send a gift for the dog. The advertising techniques that are being used is need for nurture and need to achieve. Based on this advertisement, viewers may feel very sympathetic towards this poor dog and as a result, donating money to help “save lives.”

To begin, the most obvious element used in this ad is clearly need for nurture. Within the ad, the viewers eyes are automatically drawn to the small dog looking heartbroken with the words “Starved. Abandoned. Left to suffer.” allowing viewers to infer that those words were describing the dog. As viewers, we want to know how to help, so conveniently there is an option of to make a donation of 60 cents a day. This donation then brings us to our next element, need to achieve. In the ad, it states “Help us save lives for as little as 60 cents a day.” By ASPCA’s diction of “little” it leads viewers to believe they’re saving money from what they could be donating.

In the right corner, this ad also gives viewers the option to make a monthly gift. Based on the diction of “gift,” viewers automatically believe they are achieving something because of how powerful that word can be. These two elements are the perfect combination when put together, enforcing viewers to see the pain of the dog and wanting to help, then having to option to help and making it seem as if they are saving money and providing the animals directly with a gift.

To continue, the target audience for this ad is directed towards mainly women and mothers but also towards the older population. Women are shown to be more caring and wanting to help nurture things in need, including animals. ASPCA really tugs on women’s heartstrings based on the diction and photo choice of the advertisement. The dog that is shown looks like it just needs someone to care for it, and women are known to provide that. The ad also reaches the older population by their diction of “gift” and “little,” because the older population likes to save money and this guides viewers to think they are saving money.

Overall, this ad has the power to reach to a large group of people. Viewers can easily fall into ASPCA’s trap by their use of sad, heartbroken animals to get an unfair advantage. This ends up with viewers not being able to say no and getting money taken out of their pockets day by day.