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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Here is an advert which promotes the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum. In the advert, it clearly explained the function of this serum. The function includes ameliorating uneven skin tone, anti-wrinkle and firming.  Obviously, this advert used the persuasive tactic, repetition of a message. The word ‘smart’ had appeared very frequently. In this 30s advert, the word ‘smart’ had appeared for 5 times. This meant that we see the word ‘smart’ in every 6 seconds on average.

A study suggested that the effect of the tactic, repetition of a message could be explained by the mere exposure effect (Zajonc, 1968). The mere exposure effect refers to repetition of a message or objects leads people to have positive feelings to that message or objects. Zajonc (1968) conducted 3 experiments with similar methodology. In the first experiment, participants were required to look at 12 7-letter Turkish words. The words would be shown to participants either once, twice, 5 or 10 times. After that, participants needed to rate the good-bad scale of each word to indicate how did they feel about the words.

For the second experiment, everything is the same except from using Chinese characters instead of words whereas in the third experiment, instead of rating the good-bad scale of the Chinese characters, participants had to rate how much they like the Chinese characters. Here is the result for the first and second experiment:

The result showed that participants who had more exposure to the words and Chinese characters were more likely to think that the words and Chinese characters have positive meanings.
On the other hand, in the third experiment, the result indicated that more exposure to the Chinese characters led to a higher rating of likelihood of the Chinese characters.

These result demonstrated that repetition of a message (increased exposure) can lead people to form positive feelings towards the message and also it enables people to like the content of the message more.
In the advert, the repetition of the word ‘smart’ would help to create a good impression of the Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum to people who had viewed this advert.


Zajonc, R.B. (1968). The attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Monograph Supplement, 9, 1-27.

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