Name-Calling Persuasive Technique

Teaching the Persuasive Technique - Name-Calling

Name-calling is the final post in this series of persuasive techniques. It can include a large number of targets. Name-calling denounces values, laughs at opponents, or puts down ideas. Labels with a negative connotation such as tree-huggers are often used. Slanted language loaded with emotions makes the audience feel uneasy.

Advertisements use name-calling when one product puts down a similar product by saying theirs is superior. One product points out what is wrong with another.

Political candidates also use name-calling to make their opponents appear undesirable. The idea is to link a person to a negative idea. 

Name-Calling Persuasive Technique

Name-Calling Persuasive Technique




  • makes fun of an opponent
  • intends to do damage
  • makes the audience suspicious
  • creates uneasy feelings
  • used by politicians and companies


Get the handout for this post here.



Question to Identify Name-Calling

  • What does the name mean?
  • What idea is associated with the person or idea?
  • How did the words make me feel?
  • Does the script appeal to emotions or intellect?
  • Is the purpose positive or negative?
Name-Calling Persuasive Technique



When using name-calling, negative labels are used to describe a person or item. It creates fear and arouses prejudices in the listeners.

Name-Calling Advertisements

It’s a 10 Haircare “President Donald Trump”

Donald Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. This advertisement played during the Super Bowl just a few weeks later. The ad begins with “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair, so it’s up to you to make up for it with great hair.” Although Trump’s name is not mentioned it is strongly implied that Trump is the person referred to as having awful hair. The ad features one person after another with outrageous hairstyles. The only conclusion is that the ad is making fun of Donald Trump’s hair.


 T-Mobile “Drop The Balls” 

Steve Harvey hosts this advertisement making it a testimonial as well as name-calling. In the advertisement, Harvey pokes fun at himself for naming the wrong winner at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant. This time he explains that he isn’t the one who is wrong this go around; Verizon is wrong.

Cell phone companies have been using name-calling since they were first invented. This ad begins with…

Hey Verizon! You’re WRONG! Again.

Harvey goes on to explain how Verizon got it wrong.


Verizon vs. AT&T “There’s a Map For That”

This is another example of the cell phone companies putting their competition down. In this ad, maps of coverage areas with the words “5X More” imply that AT&T phones will not work in large areas of the country. 


7 Best Coca Cola vs Pepsi Commercials

This film features a montage of seven videos. See which does the best job at name-calling.


Check out the other posts in this series.

Loaded Terms


Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: