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 31, 2013

Reality sucks



This print advert from Utopolis Group of cinemas in Belgium uses different persuasion techniques. Firstly, it makes use of association. The posture of the man and the woman was linked to the famous scene in the movie Titanic, which is still considered by many to be one of the best movies. Moreover, it makes use of humour and metaphor by showing a bird hitting the woman who was posing on the lines of Titanic. It is supposed to be a romantic moment but it turns out to be a clumsy one. The combination of this humorous picture and the words ‘Reality sucks’ suggests that as reality is not always perfect, movies play a major part in relieving stress and tension in our daily lives. 

Humorous message was found to have a positive effect on message recall, attitude towards the advertised brand, and thus, the effectiveness of the advert. In a study by Zhang and Zinkhan (1991), participants were shown TV ads for soft drinks which had been previously ailed on network television. Participants were told that they would be watching some music videos and would be later asked to indicate their musical preferences. There were two levels of humour in the ads: an ad that contained humour and an ad that had no humour. The ads were pretested to ensure effectiveness of the humour manipulation. Both versions of the ad contained similar information about a product, and the difference was the inclusion of the humour stimulus. The commercials were imbedded in 30 minutes of pre-recorded music videos. After watching the commercials, participants completed a questionnaire containing three dependent variables: brand attitude, perceived humour, and ad recall. MANOVA showed that there was a humour main effect (F = 19.78, p < 0.0001), supporting the hypothesis that humorous message has a positive effect on message recall, attitude towards the advertised brand, and therefore, the effectiveness of the ad.

Zhang, Y., & Zinkhan, G. M. (1991). Humor in television advertising: The effects of repetition and social setting. In R. H. Holman, & M. R. Solomon (Eds.), Advances in consumer research (pp. 813–818). Provo, UT: Association for Consumer Research.

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