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.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

3 litres of water a day will keep the doctor away


This advertisement has utilised many persuasive techniques in order to convince people to drink more water.

Firstly, the advert has made use of expertise endorsement, through the use of ‘medical experts at the Institute of Medicine’, a highly reputable organisation. Experimental investigations into the persuasive effect of source credibility have demonstrated that people are more susceptible to persuasion when the source is highly trustworthy and seen to be an expert (Bickman, 1974; Hovland & Weiss, 1951).

Secondly, this advert aims to elicit an emotional response from the observer, through the phrase ‘not drinking enough water will make you sick, ugly and fat!’ Becheur, Dib, Merunka and Valette-Florence (2008) found that advertisements that caused emotional responses were effective in persuading people to change their behaviour. Hovland, Janis and Kelley (1953) proposed that the use of fear would increase the likelihood of persuasion, as compliance to the message reduces emotional tension. The fear that not drinking enough water will make the person fat, ugly and sick may induce this reaction, which will result in them changing their behaviour.

            Finally, this advertisement informs the observer of both the benefits of drinking water and the side effects of not drinking enough water. As the observer is made to consider the consequences of both situations, the receiver is undergoing central processing according to Petty, Cacioppo and Schumann (1983). The central route to persuasion results in the observer taking part in thoughtful consideration of the arguments and, as the advertisement also involves a credible expert, this will engage the viewer and will be very influential in changing their behaviour.


References:
Bickman, L. (1974). The social power of a uniform. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4(1), 47-61.
Becheur, I., Dib, H., Merunka, D., & Valette-Florence, P. (2008). Emotions of fear, guilt or shame in anti-alcohol messages: Measuring direct effects on persuasion and the moderating role of sensation seeking. European Advances in Consumer Research, 8, 99-105.
Hovland, C. I., Janis, I. L., & Kelley, J. J. (1953). Communication and Persuasion. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Hovland, C. I., & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 635-650.
Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Schumann, D. (1983). Central and peripheral routes to advertising effectiveness: The moderating role of involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 135-146.

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