Many people have studied fear in advertising over the years. One of the more compelling models of how fear works in advertising is called the Extended Parallel Process Model (EPPM). This model has three parts:
- Perceived susceptibility to the threat
- Perceived severity of the consequences
- Perceived effectiveness of the recommended response
For fear messages to work, one must believe all three parts to be high. If just one of the three parts is low, a behavioral change will not occur. That is, the recommended action will not be taken. It is that simple. So, you must ensure that all three parts are perceived to be high for the intended target audience to take action based on the message.