Behaviour Change

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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

DHL - The Speed of Yellow

This is an advertisement from DHL in 2011. DHL offers delivery services and they tried to emphasise that their services are fast, safe, worldwide, and you can have full trust in their services.

DHL used the Metaphor for persuasive technique. They used a ray of light as the metaphor of their delivery services. In the advertisement, a light ray is travelling from the beginning to the end of the video. First, DHL wants the audience to associate their services with the speed of the light which is implying that their delivery are very fast. Second, since the light travelled all around the world through several different places such as China, India, France, North Pole, etc. This is suggesting they are able to deliver across the world without any problems. In a study by Ottati, Rhoads and Graesser (1999), they found that metaphor increases message-relevant elaboration and sensitivity to argument strength among individuals who enjoy sports. Conversely, the sports metaphor reduces message-relevant elaboration and sensitivity to argument strength among individuals who dislike sports. At the same time, Social Concensus was used to suggest that the people in the whole world is using their services. Milgram, Bickman, and Berkowitz (1969) demonstrated that people were more likely to look up when the confederates looked up at a building.

Moreover, DHL used Expert-Unknowing Public Altercast technique. In the advertisement, the light ray ‘delivers’ items to a racing car engineer, a professional cameraman, a scientist, an astronaut and a top model. The audience would probably think that even the experts use their services to deliver such important things. This is also implying another message that the delivery services are very safe and we can trust them to deliver on time without any worries. In Maddux and Rogers’ (1980) study, 106 female undergraduates were asked to assess personalities from a photograph, description, or opinion statement. They suggested that agreement was greater when the source was expert and when supporting arguments were provided. Therefore, using the messages from an expert is very effective.

Another persuasive technique is using subliminal messages. DHL especially emphasises their fast ‘speed of yellow’. At 0:07, 0:19 and 0:26, there are aeroplane, wolves and eagles respectively appearing in a very short time period. All of those can move very fast since DHL wants to implant a subliminal message that they deliver fast. Strahan, Spencer and Zanna (2002) demonstrated that subliminally priming a goal-relevant cognition increased the persuasiveness of an advertisement targeting the goal only when people were motivated to pursue the goal (when they were thirsty or when they expected to interact with another person). Thus, these subliminal messages in DHL advert can only influence the ones who want to use their delivery services.

Milgram, S., Bickman, L., & Berkowitz, L. (1969). Note on the drawing power of crowds of different size. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 13(2), 79-82.
Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1980). Effects of source expertness, physical attractiveness, and supporting arguments on persuasion: A case of brains over beauty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(2), 235-244.
Ottati, V., Rhoads, S., & Graesser, A. C. (1999). The effect of metaphor on processing style in a persuasion task: A motivational resonance model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(4), 688-697.
Strahan, E. J., Spencer, S. J., & Zanna, M. P. (2002). Subliminal priming and persuasion: Striking while the iron is hot.Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 38(6), 556-568.

1 comment:

  1. Detailed analysis of the DHL ad...nicely done. The imagery using fast animals was lost on me until you mentioned it. Thanks for taking a deeper look at the message content here.


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