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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

"My Goodness, My Guinness!"

This poster was used throughout the Second World War to promote the drink Guinness. This is a very persuasive poster as it uses extremely simple language. The only phrase on the poster is “My goodness, My Guinness” which is very simple and fluent for a viewer to read. Research conducted by Atler and Oppenheimer found that people tend to have a greater attraction for words and phrases that are simple and fluent, the easier a word or phrase is to pronounce then the more valuable it seems to the consumer and thus, the more products are brought. They tested this by generated the names of company’s and stock that were either fluent or dis-fluent  and asked participants to estimate how they thought the future performance of these stocks/company’s would go (would they be successful or not). They found that participants predicted that the company’s and products with simpler names would do better and would outperform the ones with more complicated, harder to pronounce names (Goldstein et al, 2007). This is the same for posters and advertisements, ones with simpler words and phrases are rated and remembered more highly than those with complicated words and too much text, making this poster a success as more people will buy Guinness than competitive brands.

Too further this, the picture is very humorous as the man in the picture is more concerned about the plane crashing into his pint of Guinness than the fact that the plane IS going to crash. Using humor can certainly persuade people to buy a product as the poster sticks in their mind, especially during a difficult time like a war as it lifts people’s spirits and thus they would associate drinking Guinness with elating their mood and the amount sold would increase (Gelb & Zinkhan, 1986). 


Goldstein, N., Martin, S., & Cialdini, R. (2007). Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion. London: Profile Books. 

Gelb, B. D., & Zinkhan, G. M. (1986). Humor and Advertising Effectiveness after Repeated Exposures to a Radio Commercial. Journal of Advertising, 15(2), 15-20.

1 comment:

  1. Well done. What is the Atler and Oppenheimer citation?


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