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.

Monday, February 23, 2015

When in doubt, stub it out.

The Fire Protection Association in Australia (FPAA) is a national organisation which provides information, services and education regarding fire safety, to the community. One way in which information is delivered is through advertisements, an example of which is seen above. Through the vivid image of a house burning to the ground over a cigarette, the FPAA conveys the message "Save Lives. Stub it out." This simple message demonstrated in an extreme manner is an example of the 'Inverted Consequences' version of the Consequences Template proposed by Goldenberg et. al (1999). 

The Inverted Consequences template works to successfully persuade its audience through emphasising the potential consequences of inaction - in this case, not stubbing out your cigarette could set your house on fire. The template requires the use of consequences based on a true fact; not stubbing out your cigarette realistically could cause a fire. Further, the template often involves an aspect of extremity or absurdity, for vivid appeal purposes; if the fire is not put out, it could technically burn your house to the ground.  The seriousness of the situation here overrides the extremity of the advert, resulting in a realised need to take action and be cautious. 

The diagram below shows the possible formulation of the advert using the Inverted Consequences template. The product and a message are bound by a situation set and a consequences set, each containing potential ideas, and associated via a linking operator/message. 

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

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