Intimacy appeals in Israeli televised political advertising

Galit Marmor-Lavie, Gabriel Weimann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sparse literature exists on the topic of intimacy appeals in political advertising, so in this study Horton and Wohl's para-social theory was applied to explain the "relationship" in Israel between television performers (politicians) and spectators (voters) through the intimacy concept. Altogether, 442 political ads from two Israeli election campaigns (1996 and 1999) were analyzed to test three hypotheses on the use of intimacy appeals across campaigns and political parties. The intimacy appeal measure consisted of five intimacy techniques and was thus characterized as a macro-level variable. These techniques appear in the codebook as five questions that examine whether the spots present words of intimacy, intimate situations, families of politicians, nonverbal expressions, and children. The results indicate that intimacy appeals in political spots are quite popular. Religious and left-leaning parties tended to use intimacy appeals significantly more than nonreligious and right-leaning parties. We conclude that politicians indeed use the same intimacy strategies and techniques as other television performers do; therefore, para-social theory accords with the concept of intimacy in political advertising as much as in other communication settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-268
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Campaigns
  • Emotional appeals
  • Intimacy appeals
  • Para-social theory
  • Political advertising

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science


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