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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Premature Aging - Nicotinell



This ad is for a medicinal product called ‘nicotinell’, which helps smokers give up smoking. The image in the ad induces fear in a slightly humorous way, but gets the message across effectively.

Research has shown that aging is viewed negatively by the population in general, especially women, as they are more self conscious about their appearance (Halliwell & Dittmar, 2003). A study by Nussbaum and Robinson involved investigating 50 randomly selected articles from popular magazines. Attitudes towards aging were coded on a negative-positive continuum; coping adaptations were compared with remedies prevalent in literature; and each article was coded as to how it depicted the personality of aging person. Results showed that the articles reinforced negative stereotypes held by the population in general towards aging.

This ad uses this point very tactfully, as every individual is fearful of aging, especially prematurely. It reminds individuals about the harm that smoking causes, and it makes them insecure about their appearance in the future.


Nussbaum, J.F., & Robinson, J.D. (1984). Attitudes toward aging. Communication Research Reports, 1, 21-27.

Halliwell, E., & Dittmar, H. (2003). A qualitative investigation of women’s and men’s body image concerns and their attitudes towards aging. Sex Roles, 49, 675-684. 

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