This advert by Andrex, which featured on TV in 2012, uses several devices in order to promote the product. First and foremost is the use of ‘cause-related marketing’ (Varadarajan & Menon, 1988) i.e. linking the product with a donation to charity—the advert states that by buying the product you are helping to train puppies as guide dogs. This is a clever technique as the advert is not promoting one of Andrex’s products in particular, but instead is actually advertising a promotional toy that can be purchased along with the product, proceeds from which go to charity. Research has shown that linking a product with charity can have a positive effect on a person’s desire to purchase a particular brand and persuade them to choose that product over other brands even when the alternatives are slightly cheaper (Bennett & Gabriel, 1999; Strahilevitz, 1999). This is perhaps because they want to behave altruistically or want to support their self-image as charitable people (White & Peloza, 2009). It is also a clever way to boost the brands image; linking with and supporting a charity has been found to make customers think more favourably about a brand (Ross, Patterson & Stutts, 1992) which can in itself increase sales.
Another technique the advert uses is appealing directly to the viewer—“Andrex needs your help”. This makes the appeal direct and personal, making the viewer feel more compelled to help as there is less diffusion of responsibility amongst other viewers (Basil, Ridgway & Basil, 2006). The advert also uses the ‘cute factor’. The adorable Andrex puppies that feature in the advert work well in attracting the viewers’ attention (who doesn’t like cute puppies!), making the advert more memorable, and also increasing the products likeability through the principle of association as the positive aspects of something people like—in this case cute golden retriever puppies—are reflected onto the product being promoted (Lancendorfera, Atkin & Reece, 2008; Lloyd & Woodside, 2013).
The heuristic-systematic model (HSM) of processing persuasive communication suggests that consumers will process adverts such as this one heuristically using mental shortcuts, as they will not be highly motivated to analyse the message in detail (Chaiken, 1980). This enables the methods of persuasion used in the advert to be successful because people are attracted to the product by the cute puppies and charitable donation, meaning they are persuaded to buy Andrex’s product, along with a toy costing £3.99, but are less likely to pick up on details such as the fact that only 50p actually goes to the charity being used to sell the product, which may have a negative effect on how persuaded they would be if they were processing systematically.
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