Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SUPER glue

This is a photo of a 28-meter long Alteco Super Glue model that was built and stuck on a cable bridge in China. This was done to show that this particular glue performs beyond the limits of any other super glue; it exaggerates that it is so powerful it can hold a bridge together. This clever outdoor advertisement is an example of the ‘extreme situation template’. The situation portrayed by the use of the glue is of an unrealistic nature, thus the key attribute of the product is enhanced (Goldenberg, Mazursky & Solomon, 1999).

This campaign was a huge success, and once the product was launched it exceeded the expected sales target by 120%. The brand awareness and recall of ‘Alteco Super Glue’ also rose to 96%. An additional reason why this advert worked so well may have been because it was outside. Donthu, Cherian and Bhargava (1993) conducted a study testing the influence and effectiveness of outdoor advertising and found that for outdoor advertisements in particular viewers had a positive attitude and were more likely to have a higher recall rate of the advert.This advertisement also uses the tactic of ‘setting expectations’ (Pratkanis, 2007). When the individual uses the glue they may be subjected to a self-fulfilling prophecy (Darley & Fazio, 1980) by remembering the glue on the bridge they will come to believe in its superiority and a placebo effect may occur (Sharipo & Sharipo, 1997).

Another tactic that may be in use here is mere exposure. Say a person drives on this bridge everyday on their way to work; a giant bottle of super glue is not something they are likely to ignore. Therefore when they next come to need superglue they will probably buy that particular brand because people like what they are familiar with. This was demonstrated by Hekkert et al (2013) who conducted a study in which participants were presented with either common or uncommon shapes. They found that the familiar shapes (e.g. rectangles) were rated as more attractive than the shapes that are not seen as often. The accumulation of these techniques resulted in a large profit for the company, as well as a huge eyesore for the public. But it goes without saying; this advert sticks.


Donthu, N., Cherian, J., & Bhargava, M. (1993). Factors influencing recall of outdoor advertising. Journal of Advertising Research33(3), 64-72.
Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science18, 333-351.
Hekkert, P., Thurgood, C., & Whitfield, A. (2013). The mere exposure effect for consumer products as a consequence of existing familiarity and controlled exposure. Acta Psychologica, 144, 411– 417.
Pratkanis, A. R. (2007).The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology Press.
Sharipo, A. K., & Sharipo, E. (1997). The Powerful Placebo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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