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, February 12, 2015

Big Mac Big Mistake

The advert on the left caused huge uproar when it was released as it was seen as making light of mental health issues, which is disgraceful.  It also doesn’t do much to persuade people to buy the Big Mac, by saying millions of people love it they are using social consensus, i.e. when we see/hear others doing something we want to as well.  The positive effect of social consensus will be overridden by the distasteful use of mental health information, meaning that as a persuasive technique it doesn't work.  I suggest they should also have put the audience in a positive mood by having a happy picture, such as the one on the right, or cute puppies around a Big Mac, as lets be honest, cute puppies make everyone happy.

When people are put in a positive mood when considering an issue, they gain a positive attitude towards the target issue.  In this case the Big Mac would gain a positive attitude from the audience, as the advert would put them in a good mood.

Petty, Schumann, Richman and Strathman (1993) explored the effect of positive mood on individuals with different needs of cognition. They played a mood manipulation (message that manipulated the participant's mood to either neutral or positive), a persuasive message and instructions through a cassette tape to the participants. They then tested the participants' attitudes towards the persuasive message after the mood manipulation, figure 1 displays the results. 

Figure 1:

Figure one shows that when participants have an induced positive mood this leads to a more positive attitude of the target persuasive message, for both low and high need for cognition individuals.  This shows that when people are in a positive mood this leads to a positive attitude towards target message.  

This shows that when people are in a good mood, they have a positive attitude to the content of a persuasive message.  if McDonalds put their audience in a good mood with their advert, people would start to have a positive attitude towards the content of their persuasive message; a Big Mac.

Petty, R. E., Schumann, D. W., Richman, S. A., & Strathman, A. (1993). Positive mood and persuasion: Different roles for affect under high- and low-elabroation conditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 64. 5-20.


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