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.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Whatever Happens, You'll Get Your Money


If extraterrestrial beings were attacking the planet, destroying cities and causing terror, those who were clients of the Peruvian bank Banco Financiero would still receive returns from the 8.5% interest rate. This advertisement is an example of an "extreme situation" template based on the research of Goldenberg, Mazursky, and Solomon (1999) on creativity templates. Creativity templates represent "patterns of creativity" that can often be found in successful advertisements. An extreme situation template presents the product within the context of an unrealistic situation, thereby emphasizing the quality of the product. Here the bank is attempting to emphasize a guaranteed 8.5% interest rate:  The conditions may be incredibly dire, but customers will still receive the same interest rate as before.

In a study within Goldenberg, Mazursky, and Solomon's paper, advertisements using the extreme situation template, among other creativity templates, proved to be of higher quality than advertisements without these techniques, according to judgment outcomes. Three groups of 20 participants each produced ideas for three product designs. One group received no training on creativity templates, a second group received an alternate type of creativity training (the "free association method"), and a third group were trained in a creativity template, one of which was the extreme situation template. Their initial product designs were rated by a creative director blind to the study purpose. The top 15 designs were then presented to a second group of 36 participants, who rated the ideas on five different scales which measured perceived creativity level, brand attractiveness, and levels of humour, emotion, and annoyance that would be induced in the viewer.

The group who received training in templates generated ideas that were rated significantly higher than the other two groups in creativity and brand attractiveness, as well as the humour level (refer to Table 1). Because creativity and brand attractiveness are both measures of advertisement quality, the extreme situation template applied here by Banco Financiero is a valuable advertising strategy. In line with the study findings on humour in extreme situation templates, the advertisement also looks comical due to the absurdity of the situation, which would attract viewer attention.


Table 1. Mean Judgements of Ideas by Training Type



Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333-351.

Yida Liao











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