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.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Nintendo Goes to War

This print ad for ‘Advance Wars 2’ on the Gameboy Advance uses a simple Pictorial Analogy (Goldenberg et al, 1999) template to great effect to reflect the central theme of the game, warfare. To put this picture into ‘specific scheme format’ (Goldenberg et al, 1999): the products are the Gameboy and game, the message ‘power’, the product space is the Gameboy Advance displaying gameplay, the symbol the shadow of a tank.

Nintendo work with the concept of a small, hand-held gaming system holding the terrific power and toughness of a heavy artillery tank, which makes the analogy ‘extreme’ (Goldenberg et al, 1999). Landscaping (Pratkanis, 2007) is used through the adoption of a grey, metallic colour scheme, often associated with weaponry and heavy duty tools (or any such object used in an un-delicate setting) in order make explicit that this is an advert for the tough. It uses Association (Pratkanis, 2007) to link the first concept, battle, to the second, gaming, in order to transfer the importance and gravity of the war machine to the console.

They do well to show the desirably small size of the device by its covering ratio on the poster, which, when standing as a metaphor for a tank to increase persuasion (Sopory & Dillard, 2006), suggests that its petite size has no negative bearing on its ability to deliver terrific power. Similarities in attributes for a Gameboy and tank are slim, the visual analogy based on the vague resemblance in shadow outlines, but the advertisers’ linking them on ‘“irrelevant” but visually salient features’ (Warlop & Alba, 2004) is a technique that Pratkanis calls, “particularly effective” (Pratkanis, 2007). This makes the little console seem broad, mature and powerful, qualities favoured by much of the advertisers’ target audience of young males.

As a successful analogy, the console as metaphorical tank makes the player a soldier, another desirable position for their consumers. The simple, army-like imperative, ‘Roll out the heavy artillery’ although amusingly referring to the light and compact device, invites the audience to take charge in battle. Not only does this comedy drive home the analogical importance on the player as troop but in doing so, involves them in Nintendo’s ‘war’, persuasively tying the focus of the commander and recipient (Brock, 1965).

Brock, T. (1965). Communicator-Recipient Similarity and Decision Chance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1:6, 650-654.

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D. & Solomon, S. (1999). The Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads.  Marketing Science, 18:3, 333-351.

Pratkanis, A. (Ed.) (2007). The Science of Social Influence: Advances and Future Progress. Psychology Press.

Sopory, P. & Dillard, J. (2002). The Persuasive Effects of Metaphor: A Meta-Analysis. Human Communication Research, 28:3, 382-419.

Warlop, L. & Alba, J. (2004). Sincere Flattery: Trade-Dress Imitation and Consumer Choice, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 14:1-2, 21-27.

By Alek Lagowski

1 comment:

  1. Very good analysis, but think about how the first paragraph might read to someone who hadn't read Pratkanis.


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