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.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wonga.com


This advert uses puppets to promote the use of the Wonga.com money lending company. Puppets and cartoons are traditionally used to appeal to children. For example cartoons on packaging were more influential in getting children to eat fruit and vegetables than the taste or appearance of the food (Bezbaruah & Brunt, 2011). The cartoons also had more influence on the younger participants (Bezbaruah & Brunt, 2011). Therefore the advertisement suggests that money lending is not a serious concern with the use of techniques generally used to appeal to children.

The advertisement uses humour, which is a common advertising technique. It has been found that exposure to humorous cartoon adverts compared to non-humorous cartoons enhanced product evaluations (Krishnan & Chakravarki, 2003). The message of the advert is to show customers they have a choice in the amount of money they borrow from Wonga.com. The humour is then implied as ‘Earl’ can choose the songs played, similar to how customers can choose the amount of money borrowed and for long for. I suggest that some of the humour used is relevant to the aim of the advert, Krishnan & Chakravarki (2003) manipulated the relevance of humour in advertisements. Relevance was manipulated by embedding transition statements that did (or did not) specifically link the same high-strength humor headline to the brand claims at the bottom of the advertisement. Participants were then tested for their memory of the advertisements. Recognition of the advertisements increased as humour became more relevant. Therefore, the humour used in the advert may enhance memory of the product. However, the effectiveness of the humour in the advertisement is moderated by the degree to which people like the advertisement in which the humour is perceived (Gelb & Pickett, 1983). From the Youtube comments of the video it can be seen that not many people like the Wonga.com advertisement, suggesting the humour used is not effective. 

While the humour of the advertisement might be relevant it does distract from the charges associated with borrowing money from quick loan companies. The extra charges are only indicated by the small ‘T&C apply’ located at the bottom of the screen. I suggest the small ‘T&C apply’ is misleading to customers and does not emphasize the risk of borrowing money. I also think the puppets used are scary, which distracts from the adverts main focus of promoting Wonga.com. 

References:
Bezbaruah, N., & Brunt, A. (2011). The Influence of Cartoon Character Advertising on Fruit and Vegetable Preferences of 9-to 11-Year-Old Children. Journal of nutrition education and behavior.
Gelb, B. D., & Pickett, C. M. (1983). Attitude-toward-the-ad: Links to humor and to advertising effectiveness. Journal of Advertising, 12(2), 34-42. 
Krishnan, H. S., & Chakravarti, D. (2003). A process analysis of the effects of humorous advertising executions on brand claims memory. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 13, 230–245.

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