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.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You don't know anything about Romania, do you?

This video is an advertisement aimed at promoting tourism in the beautiful country of Romania. Its target audience are non-Romanians and/or individuals with some awareness about the country. The message provides increased source credibility through its use of internationally known Romanian figures. Nadia Comaneci is the first ever gymnast to score a perfect 10 at the Olympics in Montreal 1976. Ilie Nastase is a former World No. 1 tennis player, renowned worldwide in the 70's. Gheorghe Hagi is  hailed as the greatest Romanian football player of all time but also one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe in the 80's and 90's. 

All 3 Romanian personalities are thought to have high source credibility due to their status, expertise and trustworthiness (Aronson & Golden, 1962). Research has found that a message becomes more persuasive for an individual who places emphasis on the source credibility of the communicator ( Heesacker, Petty, & Cacioppo, 1983). Thus, an attitude change can occur when the communicator is seen as a highly credible source; however this is only the case for an audience that does not place importance on the message content (Heesacker et al., 1983). In this ad, the message is to go visit Romania and the target audience is one that is very likely to take the peripheral route to attitude change rather than the central one (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). 

Further more, the ad has elements of originality and novelty. The audience is told that Romania is a country where a woman can legally marry up to 4 men ( if only that was true), you can ride a zebra ( the only zebras we have are the ones on the crossings) and can admire fish fruit ( biologically impossible). Originality of an ad has been found to draw more attention to the advertised brand which led to improved memory of the brand (Pieters, Warlop, & Wedel, 2002). Originality and familiarity ( use of 3 prominent figures) generated the largest amount of attention and were found to improve brand memory directly ( Pieters et al., 2002). 

Pieters et al. (2002) had participants page through two general audience magazines containing ads while their gaze was eye tracked. It was found that participants fixated more on ads that were both original and familiar. Original and familiar ads improved subsequent memory of the brand. Memory was tested with an indirect memory test. 


Aronson, E., & Golden, B.W. (1962). The effect of relevant and irrelevant aspects of communicator credibility on opinion change. Journal of Personality, 30, 135-146. 

Heesacker, M., Petty, R.E., & Cacioppo, J.T. (1983). Field dependence and attitude change: source credibility can alter persuasion by affecting message-relevant thinking. Journal of Personality, 51, 653-666.

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change. New York: Springer-Verlag. 

Pieters, R., Warlop, L., & Wedel, M. (2002). Breaking through the clutter: benefits of advertisement originality and familiarity for brand attention and memory. Management Science, 48, 765-781. 

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