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.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kevin Bacon 4GEE Bad Ad




The main focus of this advert is to encourage people to become more connected and they can do this by joining 4GEE however the tactics used in the ad backfire.

Kevin Bacon delivers this advert but who actually is he? He’s a well-known actor in America it seems but he’s unknown to the British audience (well to me anyway). He then says he’s the centre of the universe which pulls of as being conceited, vain and arrogant rather than ‘I’m really cool’ which the ad attempted to imply. The high status-admirer altercast therefore backfires; individuals don’t want to be like him. Additionally, ‘discrepancy of a message’ technique could be employed (but again backfires). The source of the message is of low credibility but he’s asking the audience to perform a large change (to eventually switch mobile network to EE). Had a source of higher credibility been used it’s more likely for this change to occur.

Kevin then lists a bunch of people who have appeared on tv (most of whom I’ve never heard of) and mentions how they’re all connected. The message length = message strength attempts to be adopted however due to the speed at which he’s talking (and that most of it doesn’t make much sense), the technique fails. He talks ever so quickly so it’s hard to keep up with what he’s saying; the point he emphasizes is lost.

He makes a ‘funny’ reference to Helen Daniels from neighbours and Jedward. This humour continues as the ad concludes with Kevin’s hair imitating Jedward’s and him declaring his love for them. It doesn’t work as Jedward are not always positively viewed by the public. If a celebrity reference is made it should be to one that everyone likes.

He also says ‘moble’ instead of ‘mobile’ throughout the advert which I find increasingly irritating. If you’re going to advertise something at least learn how to pronounce what it is you’re trying to sell!

To illustrate the discrepancy of a message technique, Aronson, Turner & Carlsmith (1963) found that participants who read a persuasive message that was attributed to a source of high credibility found participants were more likely to have a greater opinion change in comparison to a moderate credible source where opinion change was only found to a certain point.

To examine the message length = message strength technique, Petty and Cacioppo (1984) examined the number of arguments, the cogency of those arguments and recipients involvement for a message. When involvement was low a long message increased persuasion. In the present example however this may not have been the case as it’s hard to understand what the message is due to the speed at which it’s said.



Aronson, E., Turner, J., & Carlsmith, J. M. (1963). Communication credibility and communication discrepancy as determinants of opinion change. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 31-36.

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1984). The effects of involvement on responses to argument quantity and quality: Central and peripheral routes to persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 69-81.

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