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April 14, 2014

Body Language in Advertisement

Body language and commercial advertisement is a very strong connection. We can hardly imagine advertisements that run on our TVs and during online videos without any human models in them at all. When it comes to include models to promote product and services, they must give proper facial and bodily expressions and if not - give symbolic clues to the target consumers and customers.

Even images, cartoon characters, statues, puppets or clay models are sufficient to get the indented persuasive message across and they are used sometimes to replace human models. Hence, Nonverbal Communication in the commercial advertisement and endorsement is a vast area of research and application.

In March 2014, an Australian student from 12th standard who was pursuing her career with South Australian Certificate of Education (sace.sa.edu.au), personally contacted me by an email for a general guidance. She was working on a research project and she was trying to refine her research by getting advice from field experts.

She told me that she has gone through my articles and they have proved to be extremely helpful for her project according to her. She had very interesting questions in line with her project, to which I tried to answer or comment against as following:

Question 1. Do you believe body language is used in advertising?

Answer: Of course, body language is used in an advertisement world. If human models are there then body language bound to be used consciously by most. Very good and common example is (fake, social or polite) smile. However, don't mistake or confine body language with or to facial expressions only.

Question 2. Why/why not?


Answer: 'Why' body language is used? Answer is that if human models don't express themselves unconsciously or deliberately (conscious expressions) then consumers (or target audience) couldn't able to try to relate themselves with models and finally the product or service being promoted.

Question 3. Do you think using the correct body language can positively influence consumer choice?


Answer: Of course, context specific and correct body language can positively influence consumer choice for sure. Good example is tooth paste advertisements in which models can be seen smiling at end. If they don't smile to show whitened teeth then that advertisement won't meet its purpose.

Question 4. Do you think using the incorrect body language can negatively influence consumer choice?


Answer: Incorrect body language, movements, expressions or behavioral clues can influence consumer's choice
negatively. Very good example is a male model showing apathetic facial expressions and improper or unfit body movements in advertisement of fitness or sports related items.

Question 5. What do you think are the most effective methods (in regards to body language) advertisers can use to influence consumer choice?


Answer: I think that answers given against 3rd and 4th question are sufficient. Most of us people get influenced by effective clues given by human models to attract attention at, emphasize or underline certain features and appeal to user the product or service.

Question 6. Do you think certain fields of advertisement benefit more from using body language to attract consumers (eg. Ads for: sporting events, jewellery, food etc)?


Answer: Advertisements which are mostly related with physical, emotional, economical and social aspects of human world should (or say 'must') utilize proper body language (techniques) to attract and retain consumers.

Question 7. As a professional, do you personally think that there is anything I should further consider to refine my research?


Answer: Are you thinking to do master or doctorate with the subject? I would personally suggest you to study more about affective and context specific nonverbal communication in the field of advertisement.


Louis Vuitton commercial with models employing body language techniques