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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Go Compare ... Too Much




Go Compare has long used the character Gio Compario to entice customers into using their site.  Despite recent attempts to change their advertising angle into ‘saving the nation’ and getting rid of Gio, I still think that the adverts are fast declining in humour and popularity.

Although Stephen Hawking provides source credibility in this particular advert, it remains apparent that the use of repetition has gone way too far.  In previous adverts, their use of repetition followed the pattern of increasing liking via mere exposure as shown by Zajonc (1968).
When this tactic then started to fail, due to an over-exposure, it is clear that Go Compare tried to vary the repetition by introducing ‘saving the nation’.  In many cases, this slight change in content has been demonstrated with positive effects (Schumann, Petty & Clemons, 1990).  Researchers here showed how, by cosmetically varying content, liking for the advertisement could be maintained over multiple repetitions.
However, it is this repetition of the new Go Compare advert (seemingly with the same character and music) that in my opinion has, or is, fast leading to decreased popularity and thus persuasion. 

When an audience has been subject to an advert over multiple occasions, the message has been well attended to, and so further exposure then becomes irritating.  
Pechmann and Stewart (1988) used a meta-analysis of lab and field studies to encompass the broad spectrum of research into advertising ‘wear in’ and ‘wear out’ via repetition.  It was through this meta-analysis that they were able to overcome disparities between the previous data and demonstrate some of the negative effects associated with over-repetition.  They concluded that advertisement ‘wear-out’ was recorded at the 4th advert presentation, whilst recall may in fact increase.  However, any further exposures led to increasingly negative emotions towards the campaign and a decrease in purchase intention.

From this, it is clear to see how Go Compare’s advertising campaign has over-repeated its theme to excess.  As a result, I'm sure popularity is decreasing in conjunction with an increase in negative response from sheer irritation when exposed to Gio Compario.



Pechmann, C., & Stewart, D. W. (1988). Advertising Repetition: A Critical Review of Wearin and Wearout. Current Issues & Research In Advertising, 11, 285-329.

Schumann, D. W., Petty, R. E., & Clemons, D. S. (1990). Predicting the Effectiveness of Different Strategies of Advertising Variation: A Test of the Repetition-Variation Hypotheses. Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 192-202.

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). The attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, 1-27.

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