Every dog owner has been through that naughty puppy stage, where everything in site gets chewed- the stair carpet, shoes, the chairs and dining table, cuddly toys, the post...the postman...the man on a bike...and to my upmost dismay.... my tickets to Disneyland Paris (luckily after sending back my soggy, chewed up tickets in the post, Disney were kind enough to replace the unrecognisable tickets with brand new ones!). Natwest uses this dog owners nightmare as a way of persuasively promoting their new service using a number of techniques.
Although noted previously that this Natwest advert relies heavily on consequence templates (Goldberg et al., 1999), that is not all. Natwest has mainly used the embarrassment of the target audience as a way of influencing their sales (Pratkanis, 2007). Every dog owners' mortifying moments are trying to explain why your radiator cover has a huge hole in the middle, and why your dog didn't mean to leave paw prints on the joggers brand new white jumper. Natwest uses this embarrassment to their advantage, showing 'empathy' for those poor dog owners by creating an answer to avoid this...after all everyone would comply to anything to restore their self image (Apsler, 1975).
Another key persuasive technique that can be seen is the use of storytelling (Pratkanis, 2007), using mischievous Barney here and his list of chewed items as an effective way of keeping the viewer interested enough to carry on reading the boring bits....as a much more effective argument has been shown to be believed if told in story form as opposed to a long bombarding list (Pennington & Hastie, 1992). When reading Barney's story, Natwest have also sneakily used humour to get you on their side! I guarantee that if you are a dog owner reading this advert, you would be sitting there giggling to yourself about the funny things that your dog has done that is similar to Barney! (My stories of Henry and Merlin are never ending!) Humour has been shown in the past to make the viewer like the product a lot more by mere association (Strick, Baaren, Holland, & Knippenberg, 2011)...good one Natwest!
Not only is storytelling effective in this story, but its use of social norms...no...not the social norms for those reading the article...but showing social norms of dogs! This advert is showing you that it is the norm for a dog is to be chewing to shreds everything they can possibly get their grubby paws on!! We all know that Natwest has absolutely nothing to do with dogs...at all...but by using this cute little dog, their target audience can personally relate to this advert through similarity (Pratkanis, 2007)...a key method seen in the literature to contribute towards peoples attitudes towards the product (Kim & Sundar, 2012). Not only this, it also provides a social consensus (Pratkanis, 2007), giving the target audience the idea that if every dog is as much of a little Sh@# as mine, those other dog owners too must be using Natwest (who appear to be the only ones saving the day when I turn my back for 5 minutes!). This has been shown in the literature to be an extremely effective persuasive technique (Zou, Tam, Morris, Lee & Lau, 2009).
You might present us with your pretty puppies Natwest...but I think I'll stick with Barclays thanks.
Apsler, R. (1975). Effects of embarrassment on behavior toward others. Journal of personality and social psychology, 32, 145-153.
Goldberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333 - 351.
Kim, N., & Sundar, S. (2012). Personal relevance versus contextual relevance: The role of relevant ads in personalized websites. Journal of media psychology: Theories, methods, and applications, 24, 89-101.
Pennington, N., & Hastie, R. (1992). Explaining the evidence: Tests of the story model for juror decision making. Journal of personality and social psychology, 62, 189-206.
Pratkanis, A. (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Psychology Press, New York, NY
Strick, M., Baaren, R., Holland, R., & Knippenberg, A. (2011). Humour in advertisements enhances product liking by mere association. Psychology of popular media culture, 1, 16-31.
Zou, X., Tam, K., Morris, M., Lee, S., & Lau, I. (2009). Culture as common sense: Perceived consensus versus personal beliefs as mechanisms of cultural influence. Journal of personality and social psychology, 97, 579-597.