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.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fear in advertising: Protect your health

Using fear appeal as a technique for persuasion works in this example by associating a desired action (i.e. drinking green tea) with the avoidance of a negative outcome (i.e. Alzheimer’s disease; Pratkanis, 2007). 

Marketers have used fear appeals as marketing strategies for decades and the effects are often very strong (LaTour & Zahra, 1988). An experiment carried out by Kees, Burton, Andrews and Kozup (2010) found that more graphic images of the health consequences of smoking has stronger effects on fear and desire to quit compared with less graphic images. Thus, adding the photo comparison between a healthy brain and a brain of someone with advanced Alzheimer’s increases the strength of this technique by increasing the arousal of fear. Without it, the advert would not be as effective.

Kees, J., Burton, S., Andrews, C. J., & Kozup, J. (2010). Understanding how graphic pictorial warnings work on cigarette packaging. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 29, 265-272.

LaTour, M. S., & Zahra, S. A. (1988). Fear appeals as advertising strategy: Should they be used? Journal of Services Marketing, 2, 5-14. 

Okello, E. J., McDougall, E. J., Kumar, S., & Seal, C. J. (2011). In vitro protective effects of colon-available extract of Camellia sinensis (tea) against hydrogen peroxide and beta-amyloid (A(1–42)) induced cytotoxicity in differentiated PC12 cells. Phytomedicine, 18, 691-696.

Pratkanis, A. (2007). The science of social influence. New York: Psychology Press.

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