Beware of Ads That Rhyme, They’ll Get You Every Time

According to the latest Pinkcast, there is a lot of evidence to suggest that rhymes are an incredibly persuasive tool.

In a study titled, “Birds of a Feather Flock Conjointly: Rhyme as Reason in Aphorisms,” researchers found that participants who were given rhymes found the message more accurate and more insightful.

The reason was that rhymes increase processing fluency, which means that they help make the message go down easier, easier to process. When that happens, people are not only more likely to remember it, but more likely to believe it. In other words, rhymes can be quite persuasive.

This may explain why companies around the world use rhyme to advertise their products.

Pink gives an example of Haribo gummy candies, a German company that has created rhymes for their candy in multiple languages. In English, the ad is:

Kids and grownups love it so
the happy world of Haribo

You can watch the video below to marvel at Pink’s multilingual capabilities as he recites the ads in French and Spanish.

There are other examples of using rhymes to persuade.

The web site Neuromarketing has a post titled, Save Time, Persuade with Rhyme!.

In that post, author Roger Dooley makes note of the famous quote used by O.J. Simpson’s lawyer during his trial, and how effective it was:

“If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit!”

Dooley also highlights a couple of ads that rhyme:

  • Beauty outside. Beast inside. (Apple Mac Pro)
  • Grace. Space. Pace. (Jaguar)

Here is another set of rhyming ads, from the site Visual Thesaurus:

  • “Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven.”
  • “See the USA in your Chevrolet.”
  • “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce/ Special orders don’t upset us.”
  • “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot/Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot.”
  • “You’ll wonder where the yellow went/When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent”

It is worth noting, however, that while rhyming ads may be more persuasive, for some reason the number of ads that contain a rhyme has dropped, as noted both at the Visual Thesaurus and a post on LinkedIn, which indicated that rhyming ads have dropped by 50%.

To me, that doesn’t make sense, given that the research supports the persuasive power of rhyming.

So if you’re in advertising,

  • “When you use words that rhyme, your ads will be sublime.”

or how about this one

  • “If you want your ad to persuade, then go on a rhyming crusade.”

Now you know why I teach accounting and not advertising.

But I will leave you with this:

  • Many thanks for reading this post
    Time wasted, two minutes at most

*image from The Learning Corp

19 thoughts on “Beware of Ads That Rhyme, They’ll Get You Every Time

  1. I instantly heard the pepsodent tune! But some ads are famous without a rhyme, perhaps a strong visual image. ‘You’re Never Alone With a Strand’ – fifties black and white cigarette ad. I don’t know why that popped into my head!

    1. thanks, Bob. He was one of my favorite poets. One of his quotes seemed to describe me:

      “You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely.”

      🙂

  2. Very interesting! Of course, rhymes make things easier to remember…we use this all the time in teaching. I must admit to loathing rhyming greeting cards — makes them seem ingenuine to me. This post also reminds me of when I won a “environmental” slogan-writing contest when I was in 2nd grade. My winning imperfect-rhyme entry? “Save gas. Then it will last.” I’m certain this went on to change the world in more ways than I’ll ever know.

  3. This post does make you think.
    Buy drano, so the water flows down the sink?
    It’s the red bottle, not pink.
    The clog unstuck, does make you wink.
    Untangled kink.
    Bethink, Write it in ink.

    1. I was hoping all the writers and poets on WordPress would come up with some clever ads, and you did not disappoint, Beth. Did you ever consider writing jingles? 🙂

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