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.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Time to try Pedigree Light

This Pedigree advert uses a mixture of persuasive methods to encourage individuals to buy Pedigree ‘Light’ dog food. It shows an overweight dog stuck halfway through a dog flap, whilst a cat makes the most of his canine friend’s misfortune with the help of a flower and sneaks away.

By using humour, the advert increases the viewer’s attention and memory for the product. Krishnan and Chakravarti (2003) showed participants a variety of adverts which used either no humour, moderate strength humour or high strength humour and were also shown adverts which used either relevant or non-relevant humour. They found the use of humour in an advert increases an individual’s memory for the brand or product being advertised and that this effect if even stronger when the humour is relevant to the brand or product being advertised, as it is here with the association between the overweight dog (stuck in the dog flap) and the food the it eats.

This advert also makes use of the inverted consequence template where an advert shows the negative consequences of not using their product or following their advice (Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon, 1999). This Pedigree advert makes the viewer consider that possibility that their beloved dog will become obese, get stuck in dog flaps and get ridiculed by cats, if not fed Pedigree Light.  Goldenberg, Mazursky and Solomon (1999) report that the inverted consequence template is used in lots of adverts which are evaluated as highly persuasive and adverts which have won contests for being creative and effective. This technique can therefore be seen as an effective way of getting an individual to buy a product or adhere to some advice.

Lastly the advert uses the colour yellow to orientate the viewer’s attention towards the product and towards the humorous part of the advertisement. Gorn, Chattopadhyay, Yi and Dahl (1997) found that colours high in chroma and value, such as the colour yellow, increase an individual’s feeling of excitement and relaxation. They also found that adverts using colour high in chroma were rated more favourably than those low in chroma and value. Hermie, Lanckriet, Lansloor and Peeters (2005) reported that the more an individual likes a printed advertisement the more effective the advert is at getting the individual to buy the product.  This could be due to the fact that individuals will pay more attention to adverts they like or it could be that the individual associates their positive feelings towards the advert with the product and the brand (Rimoldi, 2008).


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

Gorn, G. J., Chattopadhyay, A., Yi, T., & and Dahl, W. D. (1997). Effects of Color as an Executional Cue in Advertising: They're in the Shade. Management Science, 43, 1387-1400.

Hermie, P, Lanckriet, T, Lansloot, K & Peeters, S (2005). Stop/Watch: Everything you need to know about the impact of magazine ads. Brussels, Belgium: Medialogue.

Krishnan, H. S., & Chakravarti, D. (2003). A Process Analysis of the Effects of Humorous Advertising Executions on Brand Claims Memory. Consumer Psychology, 13, 230-245.

Rimoldi (2008). The impact of ‘likeability’ on advertising effectiveness: To what extent does liking an advert have a persuasive influence on consumer behaviour? (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nottingham: Nottingham. 

Anna Caswell


  1. Nice analysis, but who is Goldenger?! Some sort of conclusion will round the blog off better.


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