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

Super Fruit Advert

The persuasive techniques used in the Lemon advert are repetition of "lemon" in conjunction with repetition of the word "super", and a non-qualified slogan. The effect of slogans has been studied by Mulken et al., (2005), and found that slogans like “When life gives you lemons, be super” (those including puns) are more salient in subjects’ minds, and therefore prove to be significantly more influential. The brand character (the superhero lemon) should be effective in influencing people to try lemons. A study by Kraak and Story in 2014 suggests that advertisements containing familiar characters make increase the likelihood that adults and children, in particular, will be more willing to try new, healthier foods.

The most heavily employed advertising technique in the kiwi advert is based on Emotion. Making an emotional plea to people about the kiwi, and giving the kiwi a sad face, should make viewers of the advertisement feel sad too. This effect is called emotion contagion (Small and Verrochi, 2009), which also predicts that people are more likely to act in the way the advertisement suggests (e.g. get more kiwis) when the character is sad rather than happy. The information provided in the advertisement, while being factual, doesn’t require intense cognitive processing, which according to the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty and Caccioppo, 1986) will not lead to permanent attitude change, but will influence short-term attitudes, e.g. seeing the advert in the entrance of a supermarket might make people more likely to pick up some kiwis in the fruit and veg section (the section nearest the entrance in most supermarkets). Repetition is also used in the advert: “Get a Kiwi” is featured four times, with each one being slightly larger in font size than the written content surrounding it. Caccioppo and Petty (1979) suggest that repetition allows for viewers more opportunity to cognitively process the message, as well as increasing their exposure to it, resulting in attitude or behaviour change. This low level of repetition has also been suggested to increase the likelihood of persuasion in subjects (Campbell and Keller, 2003). “Get a Kiwi” is also written in bold, to make the main message of the advertisement stand out to viewers almost immediately after they start reading the article.

The transformation advert uses transference as its main persuasive technique. Showing “Dave’s” transformation with the caption “Be like Dave. Be Super.” allows viewers of the advertisement to start believing that they, like Dave could transform themselves. The transference technique plays on people’s desires to make themselves better, fitter, more attractive or to reinvent themselves completely. Transference is likely to be an effect persuasive technique as the advertisement displays a positive impact of changing one’s attitudes and behaviours toward super fruits (Wang and Calder, 2009). The advertisement also used the repetition technique of persuasion. The word “super” is repeated at three times in association with “Dave”, maintaining the low and effective level of persuasion identified by Campbell and Keller (2003).


Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1979). Effects of message repetition and position on cognitive response, recall, and persuasion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 97-109.

Campbell, M. C., Keller, K. L. (2003). Brand Familiarity and Advertising Repetition Effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 30, (2), 292 – 304.

Cox, D. S., Cox, D. A. (1988).  What Does Familiarity Breed? Complexity as a Moderator of Repetition Effects in Advertisement Evaluation. Journal of Consumer Research, 15 (1), 111 – 116.

Kraak, V. I., Story, M. (2014). Influence of food companies' brand mascots and entertainment companies' cartoon media characters on children's diet and health: a systematic review and research needs. Obesity Reviews, 16 (2), 107 – 126.

Mulken, M. v., Dijk, R. v. E. v., Hoeken, H. (2005). Puns, relevance and appreciation in advertisements. Journal of Pragmatics, 37 (5), 707 – 721.

Petty, R. E., Caccioppo, J. T. (1986). The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 123 – 205.

Small, D. A., Verrochi, N. M., (2009). The Face of Need: Facial Emotion Expression on Charity Advertisements. Journal of Marketing Research, 46, (6), 777 – 787.

Wang, J., Calder, B. J., (2009). Media engagement and advertising: Transportation, matching, transference and intrusion. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19, (3), 546 – 555.

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