A compliance message is a form of communication intended to cause a person to comply with the intentions of another. Compliance messages in public venues include face-to-face sales pitches, point-of-purchase advertisements and most mass-media product advertisements.
While compliance messages are most commonly recognized in marketing situations, the communication technique is common in child-rearing, and continues to form a large part of adult communication in many Western and colonial cultures. The form of communication was first recognized in Western language as a product of the immature ego described by Sigmund Freud, and later became recognized as reflecting a paternalistic form of communication in transactional analysis, which recognizes human interaction as reflecting the mentality of either a child, a parent or an adult.
In marketing, compliance messages often mask paternalistic approaches as adult-to-adult communication, but such messages often appeal to childish interests of a consumer, in an approach that presents the marketeer as a paternalistic figure. For people who have not fully realized themselves as an independent adult, a paternalistic presentation appeals to childhood attachments with care-givers who provided security, sustenance and direction in a world that at times appeared confusing and threatening.