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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another silly mistake..

This piece of lighthearted 30 second ad  first appeared on this prestigious blog under Lauren Fanson's post (February 19th, 2013). It was rightly pointed out that the use of Goldenberg's 'Consequence Template' was a key technique in dissuading the audience from using another brand. In combination with the element of humor to cover the weak argument (Eisend, 2011) the results are quite formidable. There are, however, further elements to be considered in this, otherwise, innocent-looking clip.

Innocence is, perhaps, the most important thing to be considered here.

A fair step down from my previous blog post, rid of the dramatically grisly ending, the modest set-up of this ad sticks to the bare essentials of storytelling; a simple and relate-able causal structure and context. This method of presentation tends to keep the message longer in the memory, even in the face of discrediting information (Anderson, Lepper & Ross, 1980). This is of particular significance in the industry of selling spectacles because the difference between various brands of lenses are often finely nuanced, or altogether negligible to the normal user.

The narration of the story suggests that the person who just witnessed his partner mis-planting a passionate kiss deserved all of our sympathy, but in reality both parties are, in fact, ridiculed. Janes and Olson, 2000 found that merely having a target observe another person being ridiculed increased the target's rate of conformity, so the ad is actually a double whammy in this respect.

The solve-all solution? Specsavers, of course. Setting up such an expectation again distinguishes from other brands that probably have highly similar products be pegging themselves to be superior (despite providing no concrete grounds for such a claim, as far as the viewer is shown), reinforced by humor, and generates a self-fulling prophecy in the viewer's mind (Darley & Fazio, 1980)

Qi Peng Wang


  • Anderson, C. A., Lepper, M. R., & Ross, L., (1980). Perseverance of social theories: The role of explanation in the persistence of discredited information. Journal of Personality and Social psychology, 39, 1037-1049.
  • Darley, J. M., & Fazio, R. H. (1980). Expectancy confirmation processing arising in the social interaction sequence. American Psychologist, 76, 192-199.
  • Eisend, M. (2011). How humor in advertising works: A meta-analytic test of alternative models. Marketing Letters, 22(2), 115-132. 
  • Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., & Solomon, S. (1999). The Fundamental Templates of Quality Ads, Marketing Science, 18, 333-351.
  • Janes, L. M., & Olson, J. M. (2000). Jeer pressure: the behavioral effects of observing ridicule of others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 474-485.

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