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 29, 2016

Ginger: A Super Spice!

This ad aims to convince people of the multiple benefits of ginger, and potentially convince them to include more of it in their diets. It uses of a few persuasive techniques in order to make people more responsive to it. 

Firstly, the play on the font makes specific words stand out more and therefore captures the readers’ attention (Wolfe & Horowitz, 2004). They highlight all the benefits (health related and others) that ginger can provide and give the sources of the arguments (such as the Guardian), leading people to focus more on that and realise the benefits of this spice. 

Listing all the benefits is another way of persuasion. Making information available to the observer, as well as its sources, will increase the observer’s knowledge about the benefits of that spice, as well as enhance his or her trust towards it because of the information quality, coming from known and reliable sources, (Charles & O’Reilly, 1982). Indeed, the perceived expertise of the sources enhances persuasion power. The more credible the sources are, the more accepted the information will be, and a positive correlation will be formed, linking the information to favourable outcomes (Cook, 1969). 

Another persuasive technique used in this ad, is the addition of the non-health benefit of ginger being an aphrodisiac. When reading the sentence “And on top of being a super spice with amazing health benefits, ginger is also known to have aphrodisiacs powers . . . .”, the readers may see a more light-hearted side to the article and will be left in a good mood with a smile on their face. Geuens & De Pelsmacker (2002) conducted a study about the role of humour in persuasion. They presented participants with humorous adverts and less humorous ones, and recorded their responsiveness to them by giving them scales about their feelings, such as pleasant/unpleasant, likable/unlikable, favourable/unfavourable, persuasive/unpersuasive etc. Results show that the use of humour in general had a positive impact on affective responses, and a significant positive effect on the attitude towards the ad and the brand. Therefore, the addition of this little sentence in the advert will increase the likability people will have towards it, make it more powerful, and better promote ginger in general.


Charles, A., & O’Reilly I. (1982). Variations in Decision Makers’ Use of Information Sources: The Impact of Quality and Accessibility of Information. Acad Manage (25)4, 756-771

Cook, T. (1969). Competence, counter arguing, and attitude change. Journal of Personality, 37, 342-58.

Geuens, M, & De Pelsmacker, P. (2002). The Role of Humor in the Persuasion of Individuals Varying in Need for Cognition. Advances in Consumer Research, (29)1, 50-56
Wolfe, J. M., & Horowitz, T. S. (2004). What attributes guide the deployment of visual attention and how do they do it? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 495-501. 

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