Maps And Their Unique Power Of Persuasion

Viewers are often intrigued when looking at pictorial maps because of the presence of colorful and artistic caricatures and objects. These bird’s eye view maps were actually very popular during the past centuries because it established the oblique view as a proper way to look at the earth’s surface. Artists created pictorial maps to entertain, amuse and advertise products.

People seem to trust maps because of the information they convey. Maps are typically used a tools for persuasion because people are naturally inclined to believe what they see. Maps have this unique power to persuade people in one way or another which justifies the use of maps for advertising.

Advertisers prefer to use maps because they are generally presumed to be credible compared to other means of communication. Advertisers who want to highlight their credibility gravitate towards the medium of cartography.

In an 1898 advertisement for shoes, a giant shoe was superimposed on the map of Manhattan by L.C. Bliss & Co. The company claimed that the total number of Regal shoes sold in 1897 from the New York and Brooklyn stores if made into one shoe would measure about 34 miles long and 17 miles high. In square miles, it could cover a greater area of New York which justifies the advertisement.

According to P.J. Mode, a retired lawyer who collects maps, most pictorial maps in the 19th century were bird’s eye view maps of Manhattan because it is likely that artists were inspired by the recent completion of Brooklyn Bridge. Most of the persuasive maps in his collection can be seen online through Cornell University Library’s digital collection.

More than 100 of the persuasive maps have advertising messages. An intriguing map from the 1929 brochure of Death Valley Exploration Company is guilty of illegal activity. It tempted investors to buy shares from the mining company but later turned out to be a fraud.

Pictorial maps present a community, campus or resort in color and style to deliver a message to viewers. When looking at pictorial maps, a feeling of identification is immediately evoked which make the map a very effective form of promotional marketing.

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