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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The TICKET Travel Agency advertisement Simulation Exercise

This may look like another cliché travel agency advertisement. 
Except when you realise that the magazine read by the lady on the beach is...

...the exact same magazine in which the Ad is published. 

The tropical landscapes used in travel agencies advertisements powerfully show the benefits of the agencies' services: they don't sell expensive plane tickets, but sunny and relaxing experiences. By being easily able to mentally picture the tropical island experience, viewers are increasingly convinced into going on Holidays. However, the Swedish TICKET travel agency took this concept to a whole new level. 

Kahneman and Tversky experiment (1982) showed that "96% of a sample of students" stated that a man missing his plane by 5 minutes would be "more upset" than one missing it by 30 minutes. The reason isn't disappointment, since the "objective situation" of the two men is the same (they both missed their flights). But due to "constraints on the freedom of fantasy", the first man has less alterations to make in his "simulation activity of undoing the past" and imagine being on the plane.

What the Swedish ad powerfully does is create less alterations to make for the reader to imagine being on a sunny beach. This is further enhanced by the hidden face of the woman, making it easier for readers to assimilate themselves to the character. As such, the simulation heuristics are enhanced, and the desire to go on Holiday increased.

[note: other persuasive elements such as the 'Last Last Minute Travel' conclusive message are not analysed since they are not as creative/powerful as the simulation heuristics mental trick.]


Kahneman, D., Slovic, P., Tversky, A., 1982. Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases. 1st ed. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

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