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Identifying the components of effective service advertisements

Kathleen Mortimer (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 25 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to identify the components that make up an effective service advertisement.


This is achieved by examining a sample of service advertisements that have been recognised for their success. The advertisements are analysed with reference to two areas of discussion; the use of rational and emotional appeals and the presence of three executional tools, i.e. physical representation, documentation and showing the service encounter/provider. The methodology uses a combination of case study approach and a content analysis of effective service advertisements. The appeals are classified utilising the Pollay (1983) list of advertising appeals. The three executional tools are taken from an overview of the main conceptual frameworks.


The majority of advertisements utilise emotional appeals for not only experiential but also utilitarian services. They also provide physical representation of the service and an illustration of the service encounter. The level of documentation in all the advertisements is low.

Research limitations/implications

The research is based on a small sample of UK TV advertisements.

Practical implications

The findings provide practitioners with an analysis of service advertising campaigns that have been recognised for their effectiveness. It is possible to identify common characteristics in these advertisements which should be considered when creating service advertisements in the future.


A study of real‐life service advertisements that have been classified as “effective” has not previously been undertaken. The findings are therefore of value to advertising academics and practitioners in that they contribute to our understanding of how advertising works.



Mortimer, K. (2008), "Identifying the components of effective service advertisements", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 104-113.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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