Live media literate.

Join Understand Media to get access to our forums, the latest media literacy news, member-only articles, early access to our journals, and much more.

We will never give your info to anyone!

Advertisements try to fill a need in the consumer’s life – either a practical need or an emotional need. A scientist named Abraham Maslow once explored how and why we need things. He created a hierarchy that explains how needs are met in our lives. First, we need to fulfill our basic needs (food, water, sleep), and then we can move up his pyramid to fulfill more needs.

Consider how advertisers use this hierarchy of needs to sell us products. Here are just some examples of advertisements appealing to different needs.
Michelin ad appealing to our need for safety.

Coca-Cola ad appealing to our need for belonging.

BMW ad appealing to our need for prestige

University of Phoenix ad appealing to our need for self-realization.