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

Jewelry? Clothes? CEMENT?

This is an indian advertisement showing a girl dressed in indian ethic wear twirling around what looks like a monument. When you first see the advertisement, you wonder what could it be endorsing. Is it an advertisement for jewelry? For indian wear? Or maybe for tourism of that monument attraction? What is this short video trying to sell?


That's right, this advertisement is trying to sell 'JK Super Cement' with the tagline 'We believe, there is something special' said at the end. The sheer undirected, irrelevant and unrelated aspect of this ad bewildered me. There is no connection between this twirling girl and the cement. They did not even use a known celebrity or authority figure instead of the dancing girl to increase familiarity and she does not mention anything about the cement. The monument may be the only real connection to the product but there is no indication that the cement was used to make it. In simple terms, this ad fails to persuade the consumer to buy the product because as far as the consumers are concerned, they have seen an ad about a twirling girl in a pretty red outfit.

A method that may have suited the selling of JK cement would have bee the Multiple Sources method. Multiple sources of anything creates a consensus and increases reliability and validity. Harkins and Petty (1981) performed a study in which they saw the multiple source effect in persuasion and attitude change. They performed three experiments but we will be looking at only two of them:

1) Participants were put in one of the the following conditions:

a) One speaker presenting one argument
b) One speaker presenting three arguments
c) Three speakers presenting one argument
d) Three speakers presenting three different arguments.

They found participants in condition (d) with three sources presenting three different arguments were more persuaded than participants in the other three conditions (p < .05) a seen in the table below.

They explained this is as a'gear up' effect where people hear one argument, process the message and when the argument is repeated, get more convinced.

2) It was the same as the above expect the variable of one argument x three arguments was replaced by strong arguments x weak arguments. It was again found that participants exposed to strong arguments generated by three speakers had more positive thoughts. Similarly, they had more negative thoughts when the three speakers said weaker arguments. This explains that whether for positive or negative outcomes, more sources are better at persuading and influencing.

JK Super Cements could have used the idea of multiple sources by showing many images of buildings/monuments they had built. Familiarity with the number of credible sources may increase the willingness to use their cement. They could have also had multiple sources of statistical analysis of their growth and function. Lastly, they multiple sources of reviews on the strength of the cement or peoples accounts after using it would have been a great technique to influence customers into buying it.

Harkins, S.G., & Petty, R.E. (1981). Effects of source magnification of cognitive effort on attitudes: An information-processing view. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 401-413.

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