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


The information in my advert was taken from Fernández-Murga et al (2011) and from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention online database.

Persuasion Techniques

First, by including the line ‘610,000 people die due to HEART DISEASE every year’, I used the Fear Appeal method. Providing the reader with a shocking statistic should shock them and persuade them to listen to the health message and hopefully change their respective behaviour. LaTour, Snipes and Bliss (1996) found that the stronger the fear appeal used in the advert the more positive the participants’ feelings towards the advert were and the more likely they were to listen to its message. In this study the message was to purchase the product however in my advert they would be more inclined to listen to the message and therefore, eat more dark chocolate.

The second persuasion technique I used was the ‘that’s-not-all’ technique. I informed the reader of the fact that dark chocolate can help protect your heart, I then told them all the other things it can also do including maintaining blood pressure and increasing sensitivity to insulin. The ‘that’s-not-all’ technique was tested by Burger (1986) who found that adding another product or ‘improving the deal’ was effective in getting people to purchase the initial product. Burger (1986) said that by being presented with one price for one product and then being told that price includes another product, the participant was more likely to see the offer as a ‘bargain’ deal and therefore more likely to buy. In my advert, people will see the fact that chocolate protects your heart as a good thing and will then realise that chocolate does the other three things as well, therefore seeing the health benefits of chocolate as a ‘bargain’ or at the very least impressive.

Finally, I included the character of Sally Jones. She is the messenger of this health information. She is a mother of three and has been to the doctor and received some bad news. I used a relatable character like Sally because of the research by Hovland (1953) and the Yale Attitude Change Approach. In the ‘Source’ part of this research, it states that the ‘Source’ or ‘messenger’ of the message needs to be ‘similar to you’. Meaning that the audience are able to draw similarities with the messenger and are able to imagine themselves as part of the in-group and therefore comply with the messenger’s behaviour or message. In my advert Sally is a relatable messenger telling the audience to eat chocolate in order to reap the benefits. 


Burger, J. M. (1986). Increasing compliance by improving the deal: The that's-not-all 

          technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(2), 277-283.

CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 

          2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data 

          provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative 


Fernández-Murga, L., Tarín, J. J., García-Perez, M. A., & Cano, A. (2011). The impact of chocolate 

          on cardiovascular health. Maturitas, 69(4), 312-321. 

Hovland, C.I., Janis, I. L. & Kelley, H. H. (1953) Communication and Persuasion: Psychological 

          Studies of Opinion Change. New Haven: Yale UP.

LaTour, M. S., Snipes, R. L., & Bliss, S. J. (1996). Don't be afraid to use fear appeals: An 

         experimental study. Journal of Advertising Research, 36(2), 59-67.

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