Therefore, the below advert attempts to get more of the population to eat breakfast by using three persuasive techniques: Social Proof, Physical Attractiveness and Rhetorical Questions.
Firstly, whether we like it or not, the people around us influence the way we behave. Indeed, we are more likely to do something if we think other people are doing it too. Van de Linden (2013), for instance, noted that people are more likely to reduce their bottled water consumption if they believe other people have started to already. By suggesting a large proportion of the population eat breakfast, the above advert attempts to tap into this powerful phenomenon of Social Proof.
Secondly, a message delivered by a physically attractive source is far more persuasive than an idea suggested by a lesser attractive person (Chaiken, 1986). This is especially true when the issue in hand is of low importance to the consumer (Chaiken, 1980). From the personal experience of struggling to crawl out of bed each morning, I argue that eating breakfast is low down on most people’s importance list (it definitely is on mine!). Therefore, people may be more easily persuaded to eat breakfast simply by having the attractive woman eating breakfast on the advert.
Lastly, we all love rhetorical questions, don’t we? In this case, we definitely do. The inclusion of rhetorical questions in an advert increases the elaboration of its content by the consumer and ultimately boosts the persuasiveness of messages containing strong arguments (Ahluwalia & Burnkrant, 2004). Assuming that the argument of increased energy, concentration and improved heart health is a strong one – and being realistic, they are vital characteristics for anyone in today’s society to possess – the use of rhetorical questions in the above advert may have made the proposition of eating breakfast all the more persuasive.
The use of these three highly influential persuasive techniques aimed to provide an effective advert that encouraged people to eat breakfast. So, hopefully, you’ll now be off to eat it.
Adult Health and Lifestyle Survey (2004) Retrieved from http://nhsforthvalley.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Adult-Health-and-Lifestyle-Survey-2004.pdf
Ahluwalia, R., & Burnkrant, R. E. (2004). Answering questions about questions: A persuasion knowledge perspective for understanding the effects of rhetorical questions. Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 26-42.
Chaiken, S. (1980). Heuristic versus systematic information processing and the use of source versus message cues in persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 752-766.
Chaiken, S. (1986). Physical appearance and social influence. In C. P. Herman, M. P. Zanna, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Physical appearance, stigma, and social behavior: The Ontario Symposium (pp. 143-177). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Harvard Health Publications: Eat breakfast to lower heart risk (2013). Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/eat-breakfast-to-lower-heart-risk
NHS Lothian: Breakfast (2011). Retrieved from http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/MediaCentre/Campaigns/SmallStepsBigDifference/Eating/Pages/Breakfast.aspx
Van Der Linden, S. (2015). Exploring Beliefs About Bottled Water and Intentions to Reduce Consumption The Dual-Effect of Social Norm Activation and Persuasive Information. Environment and Behavior, 47, 526-550.