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How to Increase Advertisement’s Effectiveness with Emphasizing Words

Relevant topics Archive, Strategy

  • Neuromarketing Principle:
    The cognitive processing of listeners is influenced by the number of words that announcers vocally emphasize in a commercial.
  • Application:
    Announcers should emphasize 10% to 20% of the keywords in their commercials to improve the effectiveness.
  • Day in day out we are exposed to advertising on radio, television, YouTube, and all the other communication channels. So, it is important that you not get annoyed by them, right? Speech plays an important role in this. In fact, most of the brand and advertising strategies are based on the announcer’s voice, as this is one of the most valuable assets in marketing. Announcers can point up the importance of critical information by vocally emphasizing the most important words of a message, which determines the advertisement’s effectiveness (Wiener & Chartrand, 2014). The emphasis strategy influences the cognitive processing of the listeners by increasing the duration of words, projecting them more intensely, or raising the pitch to a high tone (Nadeu & Hualde, 2012; Rodero & Potter, 2021). But can too much voice-over emphasis backfire?

    Principles for a Successful Strategy  

    We all know that some parts of a commercial on the radio are more important than others. A strategy that announcers use to underline the importance of information is by emphasizing the important words. For the emphasis strategy to succeed, it must take two principles into account (Rodero, 2015). First, you should distinguish between what is important information and what is not, to emphasize only the essential information. This makes the message easier to understand (Cutler & Norris, 1988). Second, announcers should create an acoustic contrast between emphatic and non-emphatic words. This acoustic differentiation attracts the listener’s attention and creates the Spark Orientation Effect (Li & Ren, 2013). This effect describes a speech style that draws the listener’s attention to the relevant information of a message by using orienting elements like sound effects, appeals to the listener, or music (Rodero, 2019).

    Emphasize for Effectiveness

    But how best to use the emphasis strategy? In other words, how much emphasis is optimal?

    Well, it appears that the moderate emphasis strategy is the best speech style to improve the listener’s cognitive processing. This strategy states that advertising and marketing announcers should emphasis on 5 to 10 words in a 22s commercial. This corresponds with 10% to 20% of all the keywords in a commercial (Rodero & Potter, 2021). 

    The moderate emphasis strategy is the most effective speech style as it takes good account of the principles. This strategy contains enough words emphasized to attract attention by producing an acoustic contrast. Thereby it also improves memory as only important words are highlighted. But those are not the only advantages, the announcer’s voice also sounds more natural or unaffected, which is the most valuable feature of a commercial to the listeners (Rodero & Potter, 2021). 

    Which Strategy Not to Use

    So now we know what the best emphasis strategy is to use, but what about the most common one? 

    Well, announcers often emphasize too much as they try to make all parts of the message seem relevant. But as we have just read, this is apparently not the best way. This strategy even leads to some adverse effects. Because this overemphasizing strategy does not follow the principles, problems arise in perception, attention, arousal, and memory. The contrast to distinguish the critical part from the less important parts is eliminated here, as most of the words are highlighted (Rodero & Potter, 2021). Because this strategy only accomplishes the distinctive function, cognitive processing is more difficult due to the incorrectly placed accents (Bock & Mazella, 1983; Dahan et al., 2002; Terken & Nooteboom, 1987). 

    In addition, the listeners perceive the announcers’ voice also as choppy and stuttering, which is annoying and sounds unnatural. Therefore, it is challenging to listen to it for a long time. And because the speech style is unnatural, it sounds very marked and characteristic, which causes listeners to have learned to associate this speech emphasis with advertising (Rodero & Potter, 2021). 

    Take-home points

    • Announcers should emphasize 10% to 20% of the keywords in commercials to improve the listener’s cognitive processing.
    • The current emphasizing style used by announcers does not work, as it is perceived as annoying and unnatural.
  • How to Increase Advertisement’s Effectiveness with Emphasizing Words
  • Reference:

    Rodero, E., & Potter, R. F. (2021). Do not sound like an announcer. The emphasis strategy in commercials. Psychology & Marketing.


    Further Reading

    • Dior or DIOR? How Uppercase Letters Make Brands Feel More Premium

      Dior or DIOR? How Uppercase Letters Make Brands Feel More Premium

      Let’s say that you’re about to buy a new shirt or dress for a fancy dinner party, which brand would you choose? 

      RAFUO or rafuo?

      Which one did you like best? Chances are that, when looking for a conspicuous purchase as in this example, you’d choose RAFUO because it looks more premium. It is the extent to which the brand looked premium that helped sell the conspicuous product. Psychologists discovered that uppercase characters have a subtle, yet consistent effect on how premium a brand appears to be. 

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