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

Tooth Fairy?

This advert is for the Shark Reef Aquarium which is a tourist attraction in Las Vegas. The Shark Reef uses puns and jokes in their advertisements as a way of capturing attention. This is a particularly good idea in a place like Las Vegas where one is bombarded with attractions and events – this type of advert stands out, it’s different from the rest. They include an interesting fact in the advert – in this case that a Sand Tiger Shark goes through 50,000 teeth in a lifetime (apparently). This fun fact is further elaborated below in an interesting and entertaining but also educational way that appeals to visitors of all ages which is appropriate since the Shark Reef is a venue providing entertainment for the entire family.
According to the review by Weinberger and Gulas (1992), humor attracts attention and enhances liking of advertisements. What is more, related humor is superior to unrelated humor in its effectiveness. The nature of the product affects the appropriateness of a humor treatment and is more successful with existing than new products. Weinberger and Gulas (1992) also state that 94% of advertising practitioners see humor as an effective way to gain attention. Furthermore, 55% of advertising research executives believe humor to be superior to non-humor in gaining attention.
A study by Scott, Klein and Bryant (1990) investigated the persuasive effect of humor by employing an unusual behavioral measure of persuasion. They investigated three formats of advertising – humorous, non-humorous and control, and their impact on attendance to two types of events – social (a picnic) and business (a council meeting). The humorous promotion was a flier with a cartoon and a caption, the non-humorous flier included an illustration and no humor, the control included neither illustration nor humor. The dependent variables measured were attendance and observed expression of enjoyment. The researchers found that attendance at the social event (picnic) was greater among subjects who received the humorous advert than among those who received one of two other types of promotions. There was no such effect, however, for the business event.
Scott, C., Klein, D. M., & Bryant, J. (1990). Consumer Response to Humor in Advertising: A Series of Field Studies Using Behavioral Observation. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 495-501.
Weinberger, M. G., & Gulas, C. S. (1992). The impact of humor in advertising: a review. Journal of Advertising, 21, 35-60.

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