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 22, 2013

Silvio Berlusconi is a Genius


The upcoming political elections in Italy (24/25 February 2013) once again prove the communication genius of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. His political party (Popolo della Libertá, exp. >28.5%) rivals against Pierluigi Bersani (left-wing coalition, exp. <34.5%), Pepe Grillo (comedian, no political agenda, exp. 16%), and Mario Monti (centrist, exp. 14%). On Berlusconi’s facebook page he posts various messages against his rivals (advertising his candidacy).

The advertising below is addressed to voters of the protest movement of Pepe Grillo. People who vote for the comedian generally oppose all political options in Italy.

Translation:LESS TAXESWe abolish the IMU [Italian Property Tax] on the first home and we reimburse the one from 2012.---Every vote not given to PDL [Popolo della Libertá] is an additional vote for Bersani and Monti. In effect it means:MORE TAXES



This advertising is an exemplification of the extreme consequence version of the Goldenberg et al. (1999) Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads. Berlusconi renders every vote not given to his political party as being a vote for the widely not appreciated candidates Bersani and Monti. Even further, he creates the extreme consequence of (even) more taxes in the Pepe Grillo condition, in contrast to the ‘Less Tax’ consequence if Berlusconi is voted. The message is thus associated with the intended consequence (voting decision) in both a positive and negative manner. The positive aspect shows the consequence of less taxes when voting for Berlusconi, whereas the negative aspect illustrates a worthless vote (by voting Grillo others are elected) and higher taxes.

Further stylistic means used in the ad are colour contrasts (blue: reliability; red: aggression), positivism and confidence versus negative facial expressions, and young appearance versus signs of age.


Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D. & Solomon, S., 1999. The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18(3), pp.333–351.


1 comment:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.