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.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bring out the best in you with brown rice!

 The advertisement contains quotes from dietary specialists and factual, validated research findings from credible academic journals. When the source of information and recommendations are experts such as scientists or qualified dietary specialists, it is highly convincing and research has found that information perceived as coming from expert sources appear more persuasive than those attributed to non-expert sources. Hovland and Weiss (1951) studied the effectiveness of source credibility in persuasion. Participants were presented with an identical article said to derive from a trustworthy or untrustworthy source. Eight different communicators ranging from a renowned physics professor, academic journals and fictitious newspaper columnists were used and categorized as high or low credibility sources. The articles were written on 4 specific controversial issue and were presented in two versions which either supported or opposed the issue. In measuring the influence of source credibility on attitude change, opinions were measured before and after exposure to the articles. Results showed a significant difference in opinion depending on whether articles were attributed to credible or less credible sources. When sources of the article were perceived as highly credible, opinion change (consistent with the position being promoted by the communicator) occurred in 23% of cases. In stark contrast, opinion change only occurred in 6.6% of cases when students perceived articles to come sources of low credibility.

The use of rhetorical questions in the advert had an aim of making the reader think about the nutritious facts on brown rice and increase cognitive elaboration. Rhetorical questions, in conjunction with strong arguments from credible research journals/sources are suggested to be highly persuasive. Petty and Cacioppo (1981) investigated the influence of 3 variables on student’s cognitive response to an advocacy. According to the cognitive response approach, a key mediator of attitude change is one's cognitive thoughts/response with reference to the influence a persuasive message has on it. Students were presented with arguments that differed in their message style (rhetorical or statement), argument quality (strong or weak) and the extent to which it was personally relevant to them (high or low). Participants were randomly allocated to conditions where they listened to and rated the quality of editorial broadcasts on a topic. In conjunction with attitude measures that assessed their general attitudes towards comprehensive exams (one of four topics) and the extent to which they agreed with the proposal, participants were also asked to write about the thoughts they had when they had listened to the arguments. In the low involvement conditions, rhetorical questions presented with strong arguments generated the lowest levels of counterarguments (M = 0.85) and the highest levels of favorable thoughts (M = 1.40) in comparison to other conditions. In addition, the levels of distraction reported by students were substantially less for rhetorical questions (M=4.37) compared to the regular version (M=5.05) of the advocacy. Evidently, even if the message doesn’t have any personal relevance to the individual, the use of rhetorical questions in conjunction with strong arguments (as used in my advertisement) can decrease distraction, enhance thinking, make the message more memorable and ultimately persuade the consumer.

Lastly, the advertisement is packed with nutrition and health claims (vitamins, manganese) on brown rice such as a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium and its regulatory effects on blood pressure and sugar levels. Functional claims(nutrition and health claims) which inform consumers of the existence of a functional component in the food. Research has found such claims to influence perceptions of the product’s healthfulness, leading to positive attitudes towards the food product and ultimately, increasing the likelihood of them buying.(Kozup et al, 2003; Roe et al, 1999)

The words used in the advert such as “natural” and “pure” can be seen as “process claims” which provide the consumer with information on the food’s production process and induce perceptions of healthfulness. Process claims are also found to increase the likelihood of consumers buying the product. Chrysochou and Grunert (2014) investigated the effects of health-related advertisement information on consumers’ perceptions of food healthfulness and their purchase intention. The effects of three advertising elements were assessed namely functional claims, process claims, and health imagery. Participants were presented with mock advertisements and measures of perceived healthfulness (healthy or unhealthy) and purchase intention (improbable to buy/probable to buy) were obtained using a semantic differential scale. Results revealed that functional claims, process claims, and health imagery all had a significant, positive impact on perceived healthfulness scores. More interestingly, process claims (alongside health imagery) had a significant, positive effect on purchase intention also! Thus, exposure to words that inform the consumer about the “natural” and “unprocessed” state of brown rice in comparison to white rice should make them more likely to buy it!

Advertisement references
Erkkil√§, A. T., Herrington, D. M., Mozaffarian, D., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2005). Cereal fiber and whole-grain intake are associated with reduced progression of coronary-artery atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease. American heart journal150(1), 94-101.
O'Neil, C. E., Nicklas, T. A., Zanovec, M., & Cho, S. (2010). Whole-grain consumption is associated with diet quality and nutrient intake in adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004. Journal of the American Dietetic Association110(10), 1461-1468.
Rabbani, G. H., & Ali, M. (2009). New ideas and concepts Rice bran: A nutrient-dense mill-waste for human nutrition. ORION MEDICAL JOURNAL. 32(3), 694-701
Sun, Q., Spiegelman, D., van Dam, R. M., Holmes, M. D., Malik, V. S., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2010). White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Archives of internal medicine170(11), 961-969.
Blog write up references
Chrysochou P., & Grunert, K. G. (2014). Health-related ad information and health motivation effects on product evaluations. Journal of Business Research67(6), 1209-1217.
Hovland, C. I., & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public opinion quarterly15(4), 635-650.
Kozup, J. C., Creyer, E. H., & Burton, S. (2003). Making healthful food choices: the influence of health claims and nutrition information on consumers’ evaluations of packaged food products and restaurant menu items. Journal of Marketing67(2), 19-34.
Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Heesacker, M. (1981). Effects of rhetorical questions on persuasion: A cognitive response analysis. Journal of personality and social psychology40(3), 432-440
Roe, B., Levy, A. S., & Derby, B. M. (1999). The impact of health claims on consumer search and product evaluation outcomes: results from FDA experimental data. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 89-105.

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