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




This is an advert for the reality television show “Big Brother”. In the build-up to the show’s airing, these adverts would be played several times in advertisement breaks between other shows. In the advert the name of the show is not played, and only the show’s theme music is there to associate the advertisement with the show. This creates curiosity for those who do not know what the advertisement is referring to, and creates excitement for those who do.

The reason this advertisement is clever is that it is only 11 seconds long, which allows for it to be shown several times within the same break. This plays on the mere exposure effect (Fang, Singh & Ahluwalia, 2007) which is described as the development of preference towards an object or person due to familiarity. By showing the advertisement several times a break, and thus dozens of times a day, a person will have maximum exposure to said advertisement. Fang tested this phenomenon by instructing participants to read a five page article with the view of answering questions on its content. At the top of the article was an advertisement banner which rotated filler advertisements and a target advertisement which was displayed once in total, once per page, or not at all. The more the advertisement was shown, the higher it was rated on a preference scale, and the faster the brand name could be recalled, whilst the recollection of the advertisement was not higher than in the control condition.


Fang, X., Singh, S., & Ahluwalia, R. (2007). An examination of different explanations for the mere exposure effect. Journal of consumer research, 34, 97-103.

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