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 13, 2015

Jam it!

The Kellogg's Pop Tarts advert was meant to be a humorous representation of the new PB&J Pop Tart as a cute baby of a jar of Peanut Butter and a jar of Jelly. While the happy parents are admiring their baby, a nurse comes in saying 'It's time for feeding'. It is immediately obvious from her face that she is intending to eat the little Pop Tart. The terrified Peanut Butter dad then screams 'Oh no!' and the mother says 'Ah, jam it'.

This advertisement has received substantial criticism from mothers for the 'Jam it' double entendre, an example of a failure of use of humour. The mothers were indeed infuriated by the failed humour, which in their opinion, promoted the use of inappropriate language to their children.

To improve this advertisement, it could be suggested to remove the sensitive 'Jam it' bit. However, an alternative technique could be used. For instance, M&Ms often pair their cartoon characters with human spokes-persons in advertisements. Kellogg's could introduce a celebrity into the commercial, potentially entering into a dialogue with the PB&J parents.

The effects of celebrity endorsements in advertising on children have been studied by Ross et al. (1994).

Two studies investigated the effects of celebrity endorsements in TV adverts on product preference and understanding of 8-14 year old boys. The boys were shown experimental adverts with a celebrity endorser of a race car driving that car, and an advert of the same car without the celebrity endorsement, as well as a control advert of an electronic game. They were then given a questionnaire, in which, among other questions, they were asked whether the celebrity endorsement is a good reason to choose a product, and to compare the celebrity endorsement as a criterion for their choice with other possible criteria. The boys who saw any of the experimental ads have indicated that the celebrity endorsement was an important factor in choosing a product.

The use of a celebrity to endorse the new PB&J Pop Tart could be an alternative way to keep the cartoon and the use of humour, and influence the children, without angering their parents.

Ross, R. P., Campbell, T., Wright, J. C., Huston, A. C., Rice, M. L., & Turk, P. (1984). When celebrities talk, children listen: An experimental analysis of children's responses to TV ads with celebrity endorsement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology5(3), 185-202.

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