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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

CARPe Diem its Fish Fryday

    The aim of the advertisement above is to encourage readers to consume fish every Friday, is part of the Fish Frydays idea. Now, it doesn't mean from your local chippy, but more, freshly prepared and healthy consumption of those seafood's (such as those listed) in order to hit your NHS recommended  omega 3 targets! 
     There are two main mechanisms of persuasion at play in this advertisement, the first of which being the idea of authority/expertise and its impact upon obedience or in this context persuasion. The advert shows the NHS logo, a well respected (for the most part) and trustworthy authority that would encourage people to listen to what the poster has to say. The poster also contains a selection of potential 'benefits' that are backed by professional research and empirical evidence from reputable sources, again reinforcing the idea that the claims/suggestions made in the advertisement are accurate and worth listening to. 
     The classic example of obedience to authority is that demonstrated in the research by Stanley Milgram (1963), in which people were willing to give people what they believed were lethal electric shocks on the authority of a man in an experimenter coat and in the 'prestigious' Yale university. Even when participants in the experiment hesitated, once prompted by the experimenter to continue, they were willing to go against their initial hesitance and electrocute the stooge.  A further study relating to expertise and credibility is that of Hovland & Weiss (1951). This study showed that people assess credibility of written material based around the author, and show greater levels of belief in information given by reputable authority. As a result of these findings, the above advertisement cites authorities that are reputable and relevant to the claims made, such as the NHS regarding health and medical research papers explaining the benefits of Omega 3’s.  
     The second mechanism utilised in this advert is the idea of celebrity endorsement, 'even some the biggest names love fish  - so don't be koi'. Research by Aktin and Block (1983) into the impact of celebrity endorsement on ratings of products. It was found that on 15 out of the 18 scales tested, those products that were celebrity endorsed were rated significantly more favourable than those with non celebrity endorsement. The advert was designed with this in mind, and the placement of a well known face and pescatarian, Olivia Wilde, someone who actively chooses to only eat fish, would increase the desire of other individuals for follow suit and make the decision to get involved in Fish Frydays. 

So CARPe Diem, grab your fish this Fryday and stop being so Koi! 

Atkin, C., & Block, M. (1983). Effectiveness of celebrity endorsers. Journal of advertising research.

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

Milgram. S (1963) Behavioural Study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67, 371-78.

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