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

Support Local Farmers and Eat Wonky Veg!

This advert has been created to promote the fact that wonky veg is losing our farmers £1000s each per year and that we should purchase misshapen produce to keep British farmers in business. This advert is based on the central processing route of the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty, Cacioppo, and Schumann, 1983). This central route involves a higher level of cognitive processing where the individual pays attention to the messages being conveyed with the aim to result in a lasting attitude change.

The first persuasion technique used in this advert is the concept of the communicator. In this instance one of the messengers is a professor at a credible educational institute, a university, therefore their professors would understand the financial impacts on such industries. Holland & Weiss (1951), emphasised through research that the credibility of the source is an important factor in persuasion and more people are likely to obey the source’s message when they are seen as trustworthy and to hold expertise in the subject.

Although only a national (rather than global) celebrity, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a UK chef and  a passionate campaigner on food and environmental issues; therefore he can again be seen as an expert on this issue. Aktin and Block (1983) investigated the impact of celebrity endorsement on consumers and found that adverts with a celebrity were rated significantly more trustworthy and competent compared to adverts with individuals who weren’t celebrities. So using a celebrity can increase the likelihood of compliance. 

Also because he is a British chef and this advert is campaigning to help British farmers, the audience may already feel part of an in-group (being from Britain) thus more likely to conform and buy misshapen vegetables (Mackie, Gastardo-conaco & Skelly, 1992). This is consistent with the self categorisation theory whereby individuals will categorise themselves as part of a group and will then share the views and do similar things to that in-group (Turner et al,1994). 

Another persuasion technique is to do with the statement ‘1000s of people are supporting our local British farmers, are you one of them?’. Here is an example of social norms. Individuals tend to do what others around them are doing and are thus influenced by behavioural expectations or rules to the society that they belong to (Shaffer, 1983). Thus stating ‘1000s’ people are already doing it makes it more normal to then go and buy these cheaper, misshapen vegetables. Furthermore if people are unsure whether purchasing misshapen veg is safe, then having the knowledge that 1000s of people are already purchasing this produce makes people feel safe enough to then conform to those ideas  through the theory of social comparison (Festinger, 1954). 


Atkin, C. and Block, M. (1983). Effectiveness of celebrity endorsers. Journal of Advertising Research, 23, 57-61. 

Shaffer, L. S. (1983), "Toward Pepitone’s Vision of a Normative Social Psychology: What Is
a Social Norm?," Journal of Mind and Behaviour, 4 (2), 275-93.

Festinger, L. (1954). "A theory of social comparison processes". Human relations, 7, (2), 117–140.

Hanson, L. (2015). Come on supermarkets – wonky is the shape of fruit and veg to come. Retrieved 29 February, 2016, from

Hovland, C. I., & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 635-650.

Mackie, D, Gastardo-Conaco, M & Skelly, J. (1992). Knowledge of the Advocated Position and the Processing of In-Group and Out-Group Persuasive Messages. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18 (2), 145-151.

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, 10, 135-146.

Turner, J. C., Oakes, P. J., Haslam, S. A. & McGarty, C. A. (1994). Self and collective:  Cognition and social context. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20, 454-463.  

Vaughan, A. (2015). Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall rejects Morrisons' 'pathetic' wonky veg trial. Retrieved 29 February, 2016, from hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-rejects-morissons-pathetic-wonky-veg-trial

Willmot, R. (2016). Bangor University. Retrieved 29 February, 2016, from https://

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