One common sales tactic in advertising is to instill the "fear of failure" in potential customers. Usually, the goal of instilling fear in customers is to encourage them to purchase a product or service to prevent that fear from becoming reality.
For example, a gym may advertise in wedding magazines that brides-to-be should take their classes to ensure they still fit into their wedding dress on their special day. This sales message is very different from the traditional aspirational messages of gyms; rather than encouraging people to lose weight to look and feel better, they are instilling a fear of failure by suggesting that if people do not go to the gym, they may no longer fit into their wedding dress.
These coffee ads from the 50's and 60's use a similar tactic, by teaching women to fear that their husbands will be disappointed if they don't buy a specific brand of coffee:
The fear of failure is still commonly used by marketers today. One of the best examples which come to mind is the famous Apple versus PC TV ads, which suggest that people need to buy a Mac, as otherwise they will experience all sorts of troubles with their PC. Online, eBooks yell that they are the "secrets you NEED to prevent failure" in weight loss, SEO, or dating.
It seems like the reason why we see the fear of failure so commonly used as a sales tool so often is because it works; most humans are scared of failure, and therefore are willing to make a financial investment today if led to believe that it will reduce the chances of future failure.
Using fear of failure as marketing tool changes the perception of a product or service from a utility to an insurance mechanism.