This is the third post in a series of four on using persuasive techniques or propaganda devices. This post contains several commercials that use loaded terms to advertise their products.
Check out these materials for teaching propaganda. This handout contains two printables. The first asks probing questions to get students thinking about loaded terms. On the second handout, students write a passage with loaded terms that could be included in an advertisement.
Loaded Terms Persuasive Technique
Loaded Terms Definition
Phrases with loaded terms have words that evoke strong emotions. Advertisements, speeches, and writers all use loaded terms.
Politicians use loaded words in speeches when trying to put a positive spin on delicate issues. Often speeches use words that trigger strong feelings. For example, the word terrorist causes the hearer to think of torture and a need for freedom.
Advertisements often use high-inference language to promote people or products. These words can arouse strong reactions. In the examples below, commercials use loaded words.
Questions to Ask
- What connotation is used? Does the speaker use positive, negative, or neutral language?
- damaging vs. hurtful
- historic vs. memorable
- challenging vs. distressing
- Does the speaker use vocabulary that indicates they have knowledge of the subject?
- Are idioms used?
- Do the words convey a message such as power, strong emotions, or compassion?
Loaded Terms in Advertisements
A woman meets an elderly gentleman while riding on the Trans-Siberian Railway. The man talks to the lady which becomes the narration for the film. As the gentleman talks, the film flashes clips from the lady’s past and future. He tells her she will…
- influence narrow minds
- bridge continents
- puncture prejudice
- keep peace
You will look back and see that you have made this world a better place.
Jeep “Whole Again”
This is another powerful advertisement that reads like a free verse poem. The commercial refers to the soldiers who are away servicing their country.
Oprah speaks of a soldier. Here are a few of the phrases:
- We pray until you are home again.
- There will be a seat left open
- a light left on
- a favorite dinner waiting
- In our hearts, you’ve been missed.
- You’ve been needed.
- You’ve been cried for.
Note: The commercial does not directly advertise the Jeep Wrangler until the last frame of the 2-minute film. Instead, the soldiers get into Jeeps to ride home.
Evony: The King’s Return Battle of Evony
This ad uses powerful images with only a few words, but they are powerful. The ad builds to a battle scene:
- Brave fellows, your country is at stake.
- Fight for liberty.
- Let Your Reign Begin
Wendy’s “Cold Storage”
This advertisement shows a vault door with the words “Othr Guyz – Frozen Beef Storage.” A man with a hairdryer tries to melt the beef patties.
Loaded words include:
- Don’t settle for frozen beef.
- Fresh, Never-Frozen Beef
While this commercial can be considered a testimonial since it features Pierce Brosnan, the language is quite descriptive, especially the final line “Explosions, No Fireworks“
The filmmaker describes the film…
You’re driving in a beautiful car on a snowy mountain road…
- driving 30 mph
Bronson imagines a film with…
- driving 200 mph
- missile launcher
- top-secret (mission)