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.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This advertisement provides an example of wordplay to entice their audience to buy books rather than use the kindle. Due to the success of the kindle and the subsequent decline in the number of books bought, this advertisement tries to persuade its audience to purchase more books. Wordplay is frequently used, around 10-40% of advertisements use it to persuade their audience (Leigh, 1994). The use of the word 'rekindle' ensures the audience actively processes the intended message. Van Mulken, van Enschot-van Dijk and Hoeken (2005) suggest the reason why wordplay is so successful is due to the pleasurable experience it gives the reader. There are two ways in which this is achieved, via humour or through making the audience feel like they have achieved something by solving the riddle-type sentence, boosting self-efficacy.
Van Mulken et al (2005) wanted to assess whether audiences preferred adverts with no puns or puns. They presented 68 students with advertisements that either contained a pun with one possible meaning, a pun with two interpretations of its meaning and adverts with didn’t include a pun. Participants then rated the slogans on how likable they were and how well chosen they were, on a 7-point scale. They found that slogans containing a pun are more likable and amusing then those not containing one.

Leigh, J. H. (1994). The use of figures of speech in print and headlines, Journal of Advertising, 23, 18-23.

Van Mulken, M., van Enschot-van Dijk, R., & Hoeken, H. (2005). Puns, relevance and appreciation in advertisements. Journal of Pragmatics, 37, 707-721.

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