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, January 31, 2014

Burger King vs. MacDonald's

A student from last year’s cohort simply stated that this advert (run by Burger King in 2006) was using the competition template. This is one of the six templates identified by Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon (1999) that the majority of the adverts they analysed conformed to.  I do not disagree with the interpretation that this advert seeks to suggest that eating experience at Burger King is superior to that of MacDonald’s and hence belittle it’s competitor but I also think a number of other techniques are being employed which are worth exploring.

In order to link the advert to MacDonald’s Burger King has chosen to use the term ‘clown’. This is clever because not only does it quickly associate the observer with MacDonald’s but it also can be interpreted as a derogative term. The word clown has connotations of a fool. Hence this could be an example of another one of Goldenburg et al.’s (1999) templates- the consequences technique. The consequence being: if you eat MacDonald’s you are a fool. This negative consequence is further emphasised by the contrast between the clown and king (yes, you’ve guessed it, another one of Goldenburg’s et al.’s (1999) templates!).

The use of all three templates tap in to a basic human desire- to have a positive self-image. We want to eat somewhere we feel like a king rather than clown. The desire to avoid an insult or jeer was explored by Janes and Olson (2000) who found that participants exposed to video recordings of someone being ridiculed by a comedian were more likely to subsequently conform to the instructions of the experimenter than those that watched a film clip containing non-target comedy. So by created an atmosphere or connotation of ridicule we can increase conformity because people seek to avoid the negative feelings associated with insults.

The messages described above are the focus of the advert rather the taste and value of the food itself- although we are given an example of the product and price. The radiating beams of angelic light really hammering home the point how the superiority of their brand. Although, if we are honest, the burgers never actually look that good!

By Alex Bamsey

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

Janes, L. M., & Olson, J. M. (2000). Jeer pressure: The behavioral effects of observing ridicule of others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26(4), 474-485.

Make Mine More Milk

This advert, created in 2012, rides on the hype of the London Olympics. It is part of a government campaign designed to encourage people to drink milk as part of a healthy diet.  It depicts Jade Jones, Laura Trott and Nicola Adams who won gold medals in Taekwondo, cycling and boxing respectively. I personally hate milk but let’s see if I can be persuaded otherwise!

The advert uses two of Cialdini’s (1984) principles of advertising; liking and authority. Liking of the sportswomen depicted is induced via the modes of contact and cooperation. Contact or familiarity was found by Zajonc (1968) to increase positive attitudes towards a person or object in what he coined ‘the mere exposure effect’. He demonstrated this in various tasks including asking participants to view various Chinese characters and then getting them to decide whether they meant positive or negative adjectives. They were more likely to guess positive if they had seen the character frequently before. This advert uses celebrities to create the feeling of familiarity. We have seen their faces around a lot, especially in the climate of the Olympics and as a result, we are more likely to view them favourably and consequently be persuaded by them.

The second mode of liking, cooperation, sees the advert capitalise on the ‘Olympic spirit’ in Britain at the time of the games. We saw everyone come together and support the country with the shared goal of Olympic gold medals. Cooperation increases liking, as demonstrated by Sherif and Sherif (1953) in their summer camp study. They showed that when two conflicting groups of boys had to work together to push their bus back to the camp, they got on better and conflict was reduced.

The other of Cialdini’s (1984) principles used is authority. He suggests that we are more likely to be persuaded by someone if they hold some authority over us. Here authority has been elicited in two ways. The first is their expert knowledge. If someone has achieved a gold medal in their sport then you know they are an expert. For example; Hofling and colleagues (1966) demonstrated that simply the title ‘Dr’ made nurses blindly follow instructions under the belief a Doctor is more knowledgeable than them. Secondly, uniforms create a sense of authority. For example, Jade Jones’ Black belt clearly suggests her superiority.  Uniforms alone can increase persuasion as was demonstrated by Bickman (1974). People in the street were more likely to comply with the requests of the same man if he was dressed as a guard compared to when he was dressed as a milkman or civilian. I can certainly relate to this myself. I do Taekwondo and the mere mention of a black belt, without fail, provokes the response; “Oh, I better be nice to you then!” as if I am some crazy, unstable maniac! So come to think about it, maybe not the effect that the advertisers were going for.

Humour is another technique used in this advert to persuade the vitamin deficient reader to have a glass of milk. The moustache on top of their upper lip, I personally found comical. This is a common persuasive technique used in advertising (well, not the tash specifically). However a recent review by Weinberger and Gulas (1992) suggests that humour is not more effective than non-humour at persuading directly. However, an element of humour attracts attention and can increase liking for the product. Through these two avenues, a humorous addition can facilitate persuasion.

Furthermore, Goldenberg and colleagues (1999) posit that effectively persuasive adverts use a creativity template. This advert uses the completion template meaning that it depicts the product beating other similar products. In other words, this advert attempts to insinuate that the drinking of milk has led the competitors to win gold in their respective sports, thereby beating all the inferior athletes who had toast for breakfast. Ironically I still hate milk, but none the less, an effective advert.

Robyn Wootton

Bickman, L. (1974). The Social Power of a Uniform. Journal of Applied Social Psychology4, 47-61.

Cialdini, R. B. (1984). The psychology of persuasion. New York: Quill William Morrow.

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science18, 333-351.

Sherif, M., & Sherif, C. W. (1953). Groups in harmony and tension; an integration of studies of intergroup relations. Oxford: Harper & Brothers.

Weinberger, M. G., & Gulas, C. S. (1992). The impact of humor in advertising: A review. Journal of Advertising21, 35-59.

Zajonc, R. B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of personality and social psychology9, 1-27.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Need a phone? Why not own the whole mobile network instead!

The time has come - you need a new phone and paying 30£ for a couple of text messages with your current moblie network won't cut it. Believe it or not, this may be the luckiest day of your life. YOU have been chosen to lead the mobile network on your own (and you'll get that sim-card in the process). Giffgaff offers an exciting community that is dedicated to providing you with a perfect service without the corporate mumbo-jumbo.

Offering less features than the competition is the main selling point of this advert. They have no customer service centers, don't offer monthly plans and make you do the tech support work for them - far better offer than your alternatives! Wait a minute ... have they gone completely crazy or is this a joke? Neither. In many cases it is not the feature list your product showcases, nor is it the quality that attracts buyers. What matters is the perspective.

Valence framing (Tversky, Kahneman, & Choice, 1981) is a technique where you take an object and intentionally cast it in a positive light. See, having no customer service centers is actually a great thing! And you know what's even better? You guessed it - no monthly plans! This advert carefully presents the network's lack of features as the best aspects of the company, leaving little to actually dislike. The result is a perfect service that is very hard to resist.

The technique is reinforced by introducing contrast throughout the clip. Not only do they show you the amazing features they offer, they don't forget to show you all the horrible acts their competition is responsible for. Contrast is one of the most common advertising techniques and it works so seemlessly that there is virtually no defense against it (Tormala, & Petty, 2007). If you place a good service next to a terrible one, the first looks that much better!

All it takes at this stage is a superhero to save the day. The giffgaff representative is the Batman of the story (paper mask included) who has the perfect solution and is an antagonist to the evil corporations. Giving someone "a helping label" makes not only them, but the objects they are associated with seem much more likable (Strenta, & DeJong, 1981). This encourages you to help them back - in this case by purchasing the product.

While having no more than 30 employees, giffgaff is a popular mobile provider in the country with eyes on expanding soon in the future. Last year they successfully started selling mobile phones and while the company does not offer a range of features superior to their competitors, they make up for it in their community structure and marketing that comes across as extremely friendly and likable.

article by Tomas Engelthaler (#2)


Strenta, A., & DeJong, W. (1981). The effect of a prosocial label on helping behavior. Social Psychology Quarterly, 142-147.

Tormala, Z. L., & Petty, R. E. (2007). Contextual contrast and perceived knowledge: Exploring the implications for persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(1), 17-30.

Tversky, A., Kahneman, D., & Choice, R. (1981). The framing of decisions.Science, 211, 453-458.

It's more than just a giant napkin...

This advert, advertising McDonald’s new Big ‘n’ Juicy burger allows consumers to take a massive serviette from an oversized dispenser.  As was previously pointed out, this is an example of an interactive experiment template used in advertising (Goldenberg, Mazursky & Solomon, 1999). This is where the consumer can interact with the advert itself, in this case taking a serviette from it. However, there are other techniques that this advert uses as well…

I think this advert uses the extreme situation template (Goldenberg, Mazursky & Solomon, 1999). This is a technique where adverts represent scenarios that are unrealistic in order to amplify the product’s attributes. The size of the serviette suggests that the burger will be so big that it will require a serviette this large to clear up the mess from it. This is clearly an unrealistic representation because the burger is definitely not human-sized.

This advert also uses social proof. Social proof is when we look at how others are acting to determine what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour (Rao, Greve & Davis, 2001). As people walk past the advert they will see others taking a large serviette, realise this is the appropriate action and take one themselves which then gives the advert a wider audience. This fits with the idea of social modelling, where a person demonstrating a certain behaviour increases the likeliness of the observers then conducting that behaviour (Pratkanis, 2007). Brian and Test (1967) found that the presence of a helping model significantly increased helping behaviour, for example, in donating to the Salvation Army or helping a distressed motorist. People taking a serviette from the dispenser, therefore, is likely to increase the chance of observers also taking a serviette and thus increase the advertising for McDonalds as they carry around their oversized serviettes.

As you can see, this advert accentuates just how big and juicy this burger is from the size of the serviette – it suggests that it must be that big to mop up all the juice coming from this burger. People walking around with massive serviettes are going to encourage others to head to McDonalds to sample just how amazing this ‘Big ‘n’ Juicy’ burger is!


Brian, J. H. & Test, M. A. Models and helping: Naturalistic studies in aiding behaviour. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 6(4), 400-407.

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

Rao, H., Greve, H. R., Davis, G. F. (2001). Fool’s gold: Social proof in the initiation and abandonment of coverage by Wall Street analysts. Administrative Science Quarterly, 46(3), 502-526.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). The Science of Social Influence. New York: Psychology Press. 

Eleanor Silk     Blog 2

Cute to Creepy in 30 Seconds

For the best effect, watch the video in full screen!


It’s amazing how a cat and a creepy guy dressed as a cat can rack up millions on views on YouTube…all in the name of confectionary. Skittles marketing team have done it again - traditional brand advertising has been dropped and the use of a simple interaction technique has had us simple beings succumbing to the viral power of an amusing cat once again.
Humour is the leading persuasive technique in this advertisement which makes the brand appear fun and light-hearted - this increases liking for the product. Strick et al (2009) found that persuasion is increased through liking by the changing of implicit attitudes. This was demonstrated by participants who viewed a product presented consistently with a humorous cartoon compared to a non-humorous version. The results found that product choice and evaluations were more positive when paired with the humorous advert, merely by association. Humour is a common and effective technique used by confectionary companies as they want their products to come across as enjoyable, it is not an industry which desires to be taken too seriously.
The use of humour also leads to a positive mood in the viewer. Petty, Schumann, Richman and Stratchman (1993) found that a positive mood results in effective persuasion when the targets are not motivated to think about an issue or product in too much depth. A positive mood directly impacts the positivity of the attitude which can improve liking for the product. This is relevant in the case of this advertisement as there is not much focus on the actual sweet itself; there is more emphasis on the bizarre situation with the crazy cat man.

This particular video from the ‘Touch the Rainbow’ series (there are 3 more) requires the viewer to place their index finger on the screen. The use of an interactive activation template increases the persuasive value of the advert as viewer involvement through physical activity requires more effort. Effortful processing is associated with high cognitive activity, leading to the advertisement being more memorable (Goldenberg et al, 1999). The shock of the man coming to lick your finger further increases audience attention as viewers are much more likely to remember shocking advertisements than those which are not (Dahl, Frankenberger & Manchanda, 2003).

The use of humour and shock in this advert is what caused it to go viral. Once again an advert has been produced which has little to do with the actual product but has been highly effective in generating hype. I don’t think I’ll eat a red Skittle again without picturing that man’s face…but that shows that the advert has been effective, right?

Dahl, D. W., Frankenberger, K. D. & Manchanda, R. V., “Does it Pay to Shock? Reactions to Shocking and Nonshocking Advertising Content among University Students”, Journal of Advertising Research, September 2003, pp. 268-280.
Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18(3), 333-351.
Petty, R. E., Schumann, D. W., Richman, S. A., & Strathman, A. J. (1993). Positive mood and persuasion: Different roles for affect under high-and low-elaboration conditions. Journal of personality and social psychology, 64(1), 5
Strick, M., Van Baaren, R.B., Holland, R.W., & Van Knippenberg, A. (2009). Humor in advertisements enhances product liking by mere association. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Applied, 15, 35-45.
Katie Ashcroft - Blog #2

You have no idea how much I wanted to eat this car

When choosing an advert from last year’s cohort there was no way I could pick any other than the above, as analysed by Deborah Willis:

The advert produced by Skoda for the release of the Skoda Fabia caused quite a stir, and even won an advertising award. What then, apart from the nation’s love for Julie Andrews, made this such a persuasive advertising campaign?

One important aspect to consider in this analysis is that Skoda had been developing a bad reputation before this ad campaign and therefore this ad was their bid to increase confidence in the brand. The first persuasive technique that has been taken advantage of is association. This is a technique which involves linking an idea or an object to another concept so that the original aspect takes on the positive aspects of the associated object. In this case the car is associated with (the best thing ever?) cake. By associating these two things, the advertisers have evoked positive feelings from us about the product despite the fact the two items are in no way related! Association was shown to be a powerful tool in liking by Lott and Lott (1960) who demonstrated that liking for a previously neutral person went up significantly when paired with the receiving of a prize. It has even been found that association is particularly effective when the item is associated with the other item on irrelevant attributes (Warlop and Alba, 2004). Which is this ad in a nutshell!

Another aspect of the ad that wasn't directly used but that ensued after its release is the idea of social consensus. Social consensus is that feeling we get when everyone is doing something and we want to do it too! In the case of this ad I vividly remember people asking “have you seen the Skoda cake advert?” We then begin to feel that because everyone else is doing it, this must be the correct thing to do. Milgram, Bickman and Berkowitz (1969) demonstrated this in a simple study in which confederates were told to stand on a street and look up. They found that the more confederates there were was directly related to the amount of people who came and copied their behaviour. In the case of Skoda the surge in popularity for the ad is believed to have been the reason it came out of its slump. By creating an advert that everyone had to watch, they were able to regain their popularity. They did this without having to revamp the company or investing in a radical new design but simply by associating their car with cakes!

This shows how popularity of an advert, which hinges on the principles of association, is enough to completely change a company’s image. Everyone loves a success story. Although to mar this with tragedy apparently by the time the cake car had been made it was too mouldy to eat. I could have cried.

Milgram, S., Bickman, L., & Berkowitz, L. (1969). Note on the drawing power of crowds of different size. Journal of personality and social psychology, 13(2), 79.

Lott, B. E., & Lott, A. J. (1960). The formation of positive attitudes toward group members. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 61(2), 297.

Warlop, L., & Alba, J. W. (2004). Sincere flattery: Trade-dress imitation and consumer choice. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14(1), 21-27.

Chloe McCloskey

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Sell You My Newspaper?

A boiling pot, little pigs and... a police team? First impressions suggest that this is a film trailer or at the very least a Sherlock Holmes style investigation. However, this little advert has many twists and turns along the way as although it did win a Cannes award, it, in fact is not a film trailer, but advertising The Guardian Newspaper.

Contrary to the popular children’s' story, the three little pigs are portrayed in the adverts as villains, having boiled the not so 'big bad wolf' alive. This creates a media frenzy and police investigation beginning with the pigs being put on trial, sparking riots and much polarised opinions.

This use of Storytelling is a clever persuasive technique. When arguing that AIDS is not spread through casual contact, Slusher & Anderson (1996) found it more effective to use facts about transmitting the disease embedded in a causal structure compared to using statistics. The advert shows many people can have different opinions about high profile events, but the three little pigs tale emphasises The Guardian’s commitment to reporting the ‘whole picture’ in their newspaper as they turned the story into something unexpected, whilst also showing the different interactive services they offer, such as forums and polls to help people get their view heard. Therefore, showing this story (especially as it is so familiar to many) and telling it from many different angles may make people want to buy this newspaper so that they can learn the truth about recent events and have their say.

By using this familiar story of the three little pigs, it not only grabs people’s attention but draws them in. Hahn & Hwang (1999) found that using familiar background music increased detail recall for an advert compared to unfamiliar music with the same advert. Through using this intriguing twist of the pigs being the villains in this familiar story, The Guardian make their advert more memorable and likeable, so readers are more likely to buy their product.

Additionally, The Guardian, through this advertisement and its brand in general, conveys its reputation as a credible source. Hovland & Weiss (1951) found that expert and trustworthy sources were more persuasive on various issues compared to those who were less trustworthy and lacking expertise, accrediting this to people’s desire to possess a correct attitude. Through their desire to give readers the ‘whole picture’, The Guardian further establishes its status as an expert. Therefore as the reader may feel like they don’t know enough about current issues, they may rely on the experts to gain their understanding (Pratkanis, 2007), making The Guardian a prime candidate.

Through use of these techniques, this clever advert seeks to ensure that The Guardian will continue to bring home the bacon, for a long time.

Kimberley Brett

  • Hovland, C. I., & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 635-650.
  • Hahn, M., & Hwang, I. (1999). Effects of tempo and familiarity of background music on message processing in TV advertising: A resource-matching perspective. Psychology and marketing, 16, 659.
  • Pratkanis, A. R. (Ed). (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of Social Influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology Press.
  • Slusher, M. P., & Anderson, C. A. (1996). Using causal persuasive arguments to change beliefs and teach new information: The mediating role of explanation availability and evaluation bias in the acceptance of knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology88, 110.

Sleep easy with Toms

Buying a pair of shoes is certainly not in the doctor’s handbook for curing insomnia. However in this advertisement, ethical shoe brand Toms, give us all a lesson in how to make a simple and understated advert, deliver BIG impact.

The advert makes effective us of the inverted consequences template. The statement at the bottom of the page reads: “For every pair you purchase, Toms will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Since 2006 we have given over 140,000 shoes to 280,000 little feet”. This highlights the ramifications of not complying with the request, creating an internal conflict. The viewer is made to feel a sense of moral responsibility in the situation – a child in need will go without shoes if they do not purchase a pair. Arousal of emotion is a very effective way to induce compliance to a request.  For example, Archer et al (1979) found that when empathy for a defendant in a legal trial was increased, they received more favourable decisions. The impact of an emotional message on brand favourability has been found even when the rest of the content has no effect (Heath, 2007). This may be because the participant becomes focused on the emotion they are made to feel and therefore does not take the time to consider and critically analyse what they have seen, complying with the request as a mechanism to alleviate negative emotion and experience positive emotions (Pratkanis, 2007). To achieve positive emotions, targets may take the view that they are a charitable person (as this is traditionally a socially accepted norm and provides good justification for purchasing the shoes) or they could assert that they are a fashionable person, for Toms state that being charitable is the ‘biggest fashion statement you can make’.

Toms also attempts to dissuade viewers from purchasing its competitor’s products by ‘stealing their thunder’. The main tagline of the advert states that “Our shoes may not be able to make you run faster or jump higher” (which Nike Air, Adidas and other brands use as their selling point) “but it may help you sleep better”. This implies that whilst the other brands may bring you short term happiness, purchasing a pair of Toms can give you long term piece of mind, that you are actively making a difference to someone’s life. This can create a feeling of guilt if purchasing other brands’ shoes, as in relation to the offer from Tom’s, this seems a rather selfish act. In the same way as empathy and emotion described above, the feeling of guilt induces a desire to do something to counteract this behaviour – and buying a pair of Toms seems a rather straightforward way to rectify this behaviour. 

Furthermore an interesting research finding showed that even when people knew they were being manipulated by a message, their desire to donate was still positively affected (Hibbert et al, 2007). Therefore Toms seem to get away with a rather blatant and outrageous statement that buying a pair of their shoes will help you sleep at night. We all know people who do not have a pair and sleep comfortably and therefore by thinking rationally, we know that this is not likely to be an effective solution. However by this time it is too late and the influence of the consequences template and emotional messages, mean we have already bought three pairs…

Jessica Brett.


Archer, R. L., Foushee, H. C., Davis, M. H., & Aderman, D. (1979). Emotional empathy in a courtroom simulation: A person-situation interaction. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 9, 275-291.

Heath, R. (2007) Emotional Persuasion in Advertising: A
Hierarchy-of-Processing Model. Working Paper. UNSPECIFIED, Bath.(Unpublished)

Hibbert, S., Smith, A., Davies, A. and Ireland, F. (2007). Guilt appeals: Persuasion knowledge and charitable giving.Psychology & Marketing, 24(8), pp. 723-742.

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The science of social influence: Advances and future progress, pp. 17-82.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Where a world of adventure awaits...

Disney land. The realm of adventure, fun and fairy tales. The concept that I have in my head of Disneyland has long been there, cultivated by stories that I have heard, my own experiences, and of course, the adverts. Typically an advert for Disneyland features a young child waking up to be told that they are off to the land where dreams come true, and then the advert ends on a zoomed in shot of their wonder-filled face.  However these new(ish) adverts are a little bit different. This advertising campaign features a variety of celebrities all posing as a range of Disney characters. There’s pop-singer Taylor Swift as Rapunzel, footballer David Beckham as a generic Prince Charming and Beyoncé as Alice in Wonderland to name a few.

The photographs are beautifully shot by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz and the images are clear and vivid. Gonzalez et al (1988) demonstrated that vivid imagery can be a helpful tool when trying to sell a product. They found that when salesmen presented vivid descriptions of the product to their customers, then they were more likely to buy it. These adverts work on the same principle, as they present highly vivid images to their customers, which will hopefully lead to them going to the parks to experience their version of the vivid image, in this case, the ‘adventure’ or the feeling of being a princess. In these adverts, the vivid imagery technique has the added benefit of making the individual picture their own fairytale, which means that the advert is perfectly tailored towards them without Disney actually having to put any extra work into the advertising.

However it is not only the photograph that is working to sell the product in these adverts. The small tag lines use the idea that ‘imagery sells’ to promote the product. They use words such as ‘adventure’, ‘imagination’ and ‘destiny’; all words which conjure certain images in people’s heads. Gregory et al (1982) found that subjects who were ‘led to imagine themselves experiencing certain events came to believe more strongly that the events would befall them’. So, in terms of these adverts, by bringing these images to mind, the observer is more likely to go to Disney land to experience these feelings once they have been put into their head.

An obvious technique that the adverts use is their utilisation of celebrities. Each advert in the campaign features at least one celebrity, if not two or three. This demonstrates the ‘high status-admirer altercast’ as put forward by Pratkanis (2007).  The altercast suggests that people admire those that are high-status, and want to be like them. In order to do this they try to replicate what they do or have, in this case it means that they would visit the Disney Parks. The use of celebrities also promotes the idea of associative casting, that ‘there is a relationship between an individual’s attraction to a socially distant reference group [the celebrity] and the amount of influence that the group exerts’ (Cocanougher & Bruce, 1971).  By placing the celebrities into the advert, Disney are trying to influence their fans into going to the parks.

Finally, Disney are using metaphors to make their parks attractive to their customers. This concept was put forward by Sopory and Dillard (2002); In this case, the metaphor is the photograph being used, whether it is of Alice in Wonderland, Prince Charming or any of the characters. The metaphor here aligns the idea of living the dream and adventure of the stories with the Disney Parks (the product). By aligning these two ideas, the advert suggests to the customer that they are one and the same, making the customer want to experience the 'adventure' of the parks for themselves.


Cocanougher, A. B., & Bruce, G. D. (1971). Socially distant reference groups and consumer aspirations. Journal of Marketing Research, 8(3), 379-381.

Gonzales, M. H., Aronson, E., & Costanzo, M. A. (1988). Using Social Cognition and Persuasion to Promote Energy Conservation: A QuasiExperiment1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 18(12), 1049-1066.

Gregory, W. L., Cialdini, R. B., & Carpenter, K. M. (1982). Self-relevant scenarios as mediators of likelihood estimates and compliance: Does imagining make it so?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43(1), 89.

Pratkanis, A. R. (Ed.). (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. The Science of Social Influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology Press.

Sopory, P., & Dillard, J. P. (2002). The persuasive effects of metaphor: a metaanalysis. Human Communication Research, 28(3), 382-419.

Found content 2 - By Lucy Berkeley

Monday, January 27, 2014

Faster than a cheetah?

This is an advertisement by Hyundai and various techniques are used to get viewers interested in purchasing this car. 

So, did you notice the sexy men at the beginning of this advert? I bet you admired them (especially the guy who released the cheetah), didn't you? According to Pratkanis (2007), the desire to identify yourself with physically attractive individuals can increase the persuasive effectiveness for good-looking communicators, implying that in the Hyundai advert both men and women would be more inclined to purchase this particular vehicle in order to identify themselves with physically attractive individuals. Additionally, Reingen and Kernan (1993) found when individuals were asked for donations to a charitable cause, they gave more money to physically attractive people than those who are less attractive, suggesting that physically attractive people are perceived more favourably on traits that are associated with selling attractiveness. Therefore, the presence of sexy men or women in an advertisement can increase sales of a product.

This advertisement displays an association between a Hyundai car and a cheetah, which is the fastest land animal in the world. In this case, the qualities of speed and agility are being transferred onto the Hyundai car; therefore, by association with the cheetah’s speed capability, the car is perceived as something extraordinary and sleek. Moreover, the cheetah is a beautiful animal...would the effect be the same if they used a wildebeest instead? In automobile advertising research, Smith and Engel (1968) found that the presence of an attractive female influenced ratings of automobile performance; simply advertising automobiles with female models increased perceptions of speed, horsepower and price. Therefore, presenting the Hyundai car with a cheetah will make the car more appealing and desirable. 

The Hyundai might beat the cheetah, but what about the man? Humour was used at the end of this advertisement when the cheetah gave up on the Hyundai and pursued the attractive male. Sternthal and Craig (1973) found a distraction effect of humour may lead to persuasion. Therefore, this advertisement created a lasting humorous impression on the viewer, which may ultimately lead to increased Hyundai car sales. 

What did we learn from this advert? Basically, you should buy this Hyundai car because you will never experience death by cheetah (you can never be sure you’re safe from cheetahs in the UK), and you will appear sexy and sleek in you’re new swift car. 

Simran Vaswani


Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. In A. R. Pratkanis (Ed.), The science of social influence: Advances and future progress (pp. 17-82). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Reingen, P. H., & Kernan, J. B. (1993). Social perception and interpersonal influence: Some consequences of the physical attractiveness stereotype in a personal selling setting. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 2, 25-38.

Smith, G., & Engel, R. (1968). Influence of a female model on perceived characteristics of an automobile. Proceedings of the 76th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 3, 681-682.

Sternthal, B., & Craig, S. (1973). Humor in advertising. Journal of Marketing, 37, 12-18.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fish Head Mutants – WWF’s Stop Climate Change (Before You Turn into a Fish)

This advert has a clear message - stop endangering the planet or you will grow a fish head.

Okay, whilst we know this wont actually happen, it makes a strong point.  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is saying that we, as human beings need to do something to stop the rapidly changing climate before starts affecting us directly. They have cleverly used Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon’s (1999) inverted consequences version of the consequences template to emphasise their message. This version of the template aims to warn the reader of the consequences of failing to heed the message promoted by the ad, which in the case of this advert is that we will apparently turn into fish-headed mutants if we don’t do our bit to conserve the environment.

As WWF is one of the leading organizations in wildlife conservation, it has a certain credibility that we, as the reader, feel we can rely on. When a message comes from a credible source, we are more likely to have a favourable attitude towards their messages than a source with low credibility (Tormala, Briñol & Petty, 2006). Therefore, we are more likely to believe a climate change message from WWF than from, lets say… an unknown homeless man preaching from a speaker on your local high street.

As for the actual image of a man with a fish for a head, it’s something that you could see making an appearance in horror film. If all our heads turned into fish heads tomorrow, I doubt many of us would be happy about it. What WWF is trying to do here, with this impressionable picture, is make a fear appeal. A fear appeal involves associating a desired action with the avoidance of a negative outcome (Pratkanis, 2007). Pratkanis (2007) explains that fear creates a state of arousal that we as humans want to avoid and so in order for a fear appeal to be effective, it must offer a solution to remove this state of fear. In the case of this advert, the fearful message is that our actions upon the environment will have detrimental effects on our lives; so WWF provide the solution to remove this fear – do something to help the environment.

So if you don’t want a fish for a head, take WWF’s advice - do the recycling.

By Daniela Mackie


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

Pratkanis, A. R. (2007). Social influence analysis: An index of tactics. In A. R. Pratkanis, The science of social influence: Advances and future progress (pp. 17-82). Psychology Press, New York, NY.

Tormala, Z. L., Briñol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2006). When credibility attacks: The reverse impact of source credibility on persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 684-691.