FEARS (B2-C1 Module)

Part 5: Does Fear Sell?

a. Talk with a partner or group.

Advertisers can use fear as a tactic to persuade us. Which fears can they use? Make a list of 5-8 examples and scenarios.

  • For example, government anti-smoking adverts often use our fear of illness and death by showing pictures of the health effects of smoking.

b. Discuss these questions.

  • Can fear be used to sell consumer products like cars or clothes? If so, how?
  • What are the risks of using fear in marketing?
  • Overall, do you think fear-based marketing is an effective strategy? In what situations is it most effective?
  • Which other basic human emotions can advertisers use? How do these compare with fear?

c. Listen to this short video and answer the questions.

Megan Grant from EngageBay talks here about fear-based marketing.

  • Which examples of fear-based marketing does she list?
  • What does she say about the risks or downsides of fear-based marketing?
  • What is her advice to companies looking to market a product or service?

d. Read and compare.

Linked below is an article on the same topic by Amanda Ray, for the Art Institutes website. Read the whole article, then write a text comparing these two sources.

  • Write 200-300 words.
  • Include at least one area of difference and two areas of similarity.
  • You could write your text as a comment here (below).

Amanda Ray’s article is here: https://www.artinstitutes.edu/about/blog/the-four-letter-word-in-advertising-fear

e. Discuss the questions below.

  • How can we, as consumers, resist fear-based marketing? What can we think, say, or do so that advertisers are unable to control our thoughts and manipulate our responses?
  • What about fear in journalism and politics? How far can we be manipulated by threats of bad things happening, and what can we do about it?


Do a task from the final worksheet. There are five interesting group or individual tasks which you or your teacher can select.

If you used and enjoyed this lesson, please leave a comment to let us know. You can also follow Englishin3d to keep up to date on our work!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s