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, March 15, 2013


This is an appeal shown online by the famous footballer Rio Ferdinand, to persuade witnesses of a murder to come forward with any information. A multitude of persuasive techniques are used in this speech.

Firstly, the use of celebrity would encourage people to come forward with information as not only does he liken himself to the young footballer who was murdered but using a celebrity to persuade people is effective as it gives the message much more source credibility and thus people are more likely to take the message seriously (Erdogan, 2010). 

To further this, the message is aimed mainly at teenagers/ young adults as these are the individuals most likely to have information relating to this incident. By using Rio Ferdinand in the appeal the young adults would be more likely to listen to him and again give the message more credibility than, say, a police officer as the target audience can relate to the footballer and may feel an attachment to him is they are football fans like the youngster that was murdered. According to the similarity alter cast hypothesis we are more likely to relate to people as we see as similar to ourselves (Hyde, 2005). 

The appeal also uses very emotive language, creating sympathy and offers a reward to get people to come forward, which is also very persuasive. Anonymity is also offered so as to persuade people to come forward with information as no one will know they did it, which is a very powerful technique.  


Erdogan, B.Z. (1999). Celebrity Endorsement: A Literature Review. Journal of Marketing Management, 15, 291-314.

Hyde, J. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American psychologist, 60, 581-59

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