Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Seen in Advertisements

Last Updated: 18 Apr 2023
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Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a important aspect to understanding a company to implement the proper marketing methods. Seeing the consumers needs will allow the organization to appeal to that need. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs starts with the most basic physiological needs, followed by safety, social, self esteem, and topped with self-actualization needs in ascending order (Tanner, 2011). The physiological and safety needs tend to be more tangible or sustainable.

While the center levels may have more of an emotional or rational payoff. Then the peak or self actualization is more transformational or even spiritual mindset (Conley, 2007). Looking at each advertisement you can tell the marketer is appealing to society’s needs as humans. This is because society is stimulated for disappointment if their expectations or needs are not met (Conley, 2007). Looking at the Pepsi commercial, they are addressing the social needs of humans (Blink967, 2007).

The young boy enters the monastery looking for acceptance, he goes through years of training eventually mastering monasticism. Then the entire monastery pulls out Pepsi’s and drinks the whole can. Once the young boy sees the foreheads of all other monks, he smashes the can with his forehead becoming a true member of the monastery. Pepsi petitions the humanistic needs in everyone to be feel accepted, loved, and befriended by others with this commercial (Tanner, 2011). Volkswagen implores a need for safety.

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In their commercial they go even further in protecting one’s offspring in a humorous way. It features a young family who is taking their newborn baby from the hospital to his home for the first time. As he is put comfortably in a Volkswagen, his dad almost crashes the car. A short glimpse of life flashes before the baby’s eyes which is the funny part. Volkswagen marketers are appealing to a parents need to protect their children. Since most parents will sacrifice anything to ensure their child's physical well being.

This is towards the bottom and more attainable goal on Maslow’s pyramid, thus attaining to a larger population (Tanner, 2011). The final advertisement are from McDonald’s. They advertise the same product to satisfy the same need but in different cultures. The need is to satisfy hunger; which is the most basics of needs from Maslow (Tanner, 2011). The advertisement shown in Arabic countries has very little dialogue compared to the one from the United States. Arab one makes use of the song, while using actions and expressions of the characters to advertise McDonald’s.

The advertisers do not say explicitly how good McDonald’s is but instead, make clever use of lyrics from a song with a clever fight between loved ones to a it in a subtle way. On the other hand, the United States version is full of dialogue by this nerdy-looking guy. He tells how “sophisticated” and “worldly” he becomes after finding McDonald’s international mug and coffee offer. He then states all the meals on the great value meal. Everything is stated out clearly for the audience that McDonald’s meals are cheap and you can even get “good stuff” like the “international mug and coffee” at low price.

Comparing the two advertisements, marketers should definitely pick the one advertised in Arabic nations because it conveys its message in a subtle way. This entices the audience before the ending punch line with the fight. The advertisement from the United States is definitely too boring with all the dialogue. Of course, presenting advertisements in a more creative and subtle way will capture the audience’s attention. However, it must be done correctly.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Seen in Advertisements. (2017, May 25). Retrieved from

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