Persuasion has been defined as human communication that is designed to influence others by modifying beliefs, values or attitudes. In today’s turbulent and dynamic world, persuasion is a key contributor to everyday life. This exploratory study aimed to qualitatively explore the effect of advertising appeals used by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), with particular focus on the Elaborative Likelihood Model (ELM) and the extent to which SARS follows the central or peripheral route of persuasion. The literature concerning the model and its framework was explained and then applied to SARS in order to determine exactly what route was primarily used in their advertising appeals. The respondents that took part in this study were registered as taxpayers with SARS. Open-ended measures were included, as they often complement structured attitude scales and assess cognitive responses to communications. These open-ended measures also explored the component of attitude, namely, affect. The findings related to this study are valuable, as previous studies pertaining to SARS have concentrated more on the financial and accounting aspects associated with SARS, rather than on marketing communication practices. The results illustrate that SARS utilises the peripheral route of persuasion within its persuasive message arguments, and that there were predominately affective responses to its communication practices. A possible managerial implication for SARS is that it should consider making use of a balance between the central route and the peripheral route of persuasion in order to encourage a higher degree of elaboration and further reinforce its message arguments.