Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Binge Drinking Advert

This advertisement released by Inside Government is geared towards addressing the increasing issue of binge drinking amongst teenagers in the UK. It identifies the fact that excessive consumption of alcohol has unwanted repercussions by effectively having the girl in the advert ruin her appearance, which highlights what is likely to happen as a consequence of not knowing her limits.

The “Leading Questions” technique is used at the end of the advertisement by asking the audience, “You wouldn't start a night like this, so why end it that way?” Pratkanis(2007) believes that questioning directs sole attention to an issue and is therefore an effective influence device.

To an extent, a social influence method used is the technique of agenda setting: determining what issues will be addressed (Pratkanis, 2007). If media continuously draws attention to a certain issue( in this case alcohol awareness), people are more likely to take the issue seriously (Iyengar and Kinder, 1987). 

Possibly the most important technique used in the advertisement, is the fact that the terrible effects that alcohol can have as seen through the girl, induces a state of fear in the audience. According to Lasswell (1948), using fear-appeals encourages people to avoid certain situations. In this case they are being asked to reconsider their drinking habits so as to not end up like the girl.


Pratkanis (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Psychology Press.

“News That Matters” by Shanto Iyengar and Donald Kinder (Theodoulou and Cahn, Public Policy: The Essential Readings, 1987. pp. 295-305).

Iyengar, Shanto, and Donald R. Kinder. "News that matters: Agenda-setting and priming in a television age." News that Matters: Agenda-Setting and Priming in a Television Age (1987).

Lasswell, H. D. (1948). The structure and function of communication in society. In L. Bryson (Ed.), The communication of ideas: Religion and civilization series (pp. pp. 37–51). New York: Harper & Row.

1 comment:

  1. Great advertisement, funny and disturbing at the same time. Please make sure the references are in APA style, as in the Pratkanis et al. text. Finally, can you describe an experiment that supports some of your claims?


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