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The Language of Advertising


Marketing and the language of advertising can have powerful influence over people and their behavior. Visual content and design can have a great impact on the consumer, too. But, buzzwords, phrases and suggestions can actually instill an emotional response from us. Did you know the word ADVERTISE comes from the Latin verb ‘advertere’–which means to turn towards. The language used in advertising is a way to capture attention and describe products, how they work, and what they can do for us. Its role is to persuade you–to make you turn towards a product or service. A study of these “advertising” words compiled a list for us of the twenty most frequent adjectives and verbs. They are:


  1. New
  2. Good/Better/Best
  3. Free
  4. Fresh
  5. Delicious
  6. Full
  7. Sure
  8. Clean
  9. Wonderful
  10. Special
  11. Crisp
  12. Fine
  13. Big
  14. Great
  15. Real
  16. Easy
  17. Bright
  18. Extra
  19. Safe
  20. Rich


  1. Make
  2. Get
  3. Give
  4. Have
  5. See
  6. Buy
  7. Come
  8. Go
  9. Know
  10. Keep
  11. Look
  12. Need
  13. Love
  14. Use
  15. Like
  16. Like
  17. Choose
  18. Take
  19. Start
  20. Taste

Advertising “Claims”

To make their product or service seem unique, advertisers rely on a few techniques –or ‘Claims”. Here are 10 top ways that are claimed in most advertising:

  1. The Weasel Claim –words or claims that appear important but, after thinking about them, are really meaningless.  Example of Weasel Claims: “Listerine fights bad breath.” (Fights not stops.)
  2. The Unfinished Claim–the ad claims the product is better or has more of something, but does not finish the comparison. Example: “Magnavox gives you more.” (More of what?!)
  3. The “We’re Unique and Different” Claim– this kind of claim states there is nothing else quite like the product being advertised. For example, if StarBucks would add pink food coloring to its coffee they could say, “There is nothing like the new pink Starbucks.” (The uniqueness claim is supposed to be interpreted as a claim to superiority).
  4. The “Water is Wet” Claim–these claims say something about the product that is fact, but not necessarily different from the competition. Example: “Folgers is mountain grown.” (So are all coffee beans).
  5. The “So What” Claim–this claim leaves the reader to react by saying, “So what?” Example: “Strong enough for a man but made for a woman” (So what?)
  6. The Vague Claim–the vague claim is simply not clear, the words are colorful but meaningless. For Example, “The end of meatloaf boredom.”
  7. The Endorsement or Testimonial Claim–Celebrity or authority appears in an ad to lend their stellar qualities to the product. Examples of Endorsement Claims are easy to find. During football season here in Houston, JJ Watt has endorsed plenty of products but our favorite is the commercial with HEB grocery store and the Watt-Kabob, using large steaks.
  8. The Scientific or Statistical Claim–this kind of ad uses scientific proof or an experiment, specific numbers, or an impressive sounding mystery ingredient. Example: “Wonder Bread helps build strong bodies 12 ways.” (The FTC demanded this ad be withdrawn even with the ‘weasel’ word helps.)
  9. The “Compliment the Consumer” Claim–this claim uses flattery to compliment the consumer. Example: “You’ve come a long way, baby” (May be true, but it wasn’t the cigarette that got us there.)

The Rhetorical Question–this technique demands a response from the reader, even if it is asked in order to produce an effect or make a statement rather than to elicit information. An example of this technique:  “