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Advertising and symbolism


Propaganda refers to ideas or beliefs that are intentionally spread, often but not exclusively during wartime.

The word propaganda has its origins in the missionary activities of the Catholic Church. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV created the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith. Indeed whilst propaganda carries many negative and justified connotations it is important to realise it has been used for good causes. For example the abolitionist movement made extensive use of propaganda whilst campaigning to end the slave trade.

Between 1937 and 1942 the Institute of Propaganda Analysis operated in the U.S.A. to study propaganda and its effects. The institute identified seven key methods used within propaganda:

  • Bandwagon                      Pump up the value of joining the group
  • Card Stacking                   Presenting a biased case for your position
  • Glittering Generalities    Using power words and generalities to evoke emotions
  • Name Calling                   Degrading your opponents
  • Plain Folks                        Presenting your leader as “ordinary” to inspire trust
  • Testimonials                    Using testimonies to inspire trust
  • Transfer                            Associating your leader or organisation with trusted others