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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Hierarchy of Effects Model in Advertising

Understanding and employing skills of influence and persuasion are fundamental to successful advertising in the corporate world. The Hierarchy of Effects is a marketing communication model by Lavidge and Steiner (1961) which aims to explain the processes involved from the moment we view a product advertisement to purchasing the product. This article will consist of a very brief description of the model with reference to Always’ advertising efforts as examples of the model.

There are 6 stages in the model which then further be divided into 3 categories of consumer behaviour:


Figure 1. Hierarchy of Effects Model with descriptions of corresponding marketing objectives. 

Example of Cognitive focused communication:

The cognitive stage of the model involves information processing on behalf of the consumer. In the example below Always clearly addresses the cognitive components of awareness and knowledge by introducing the product and successfully conveying the information customers will need to know about the product - in this case how comfortable and fresh the product feels for the women who chose to use Always' pads. 



Example of Affective focused communication:

The second Always advertisement is from one from their #LikeAGirl campaign and is an example of affective focused communication. This content is not about any of their products, rather it is focused on the emotions and meaningful message Always would like customers to associate with their brand. In this case, the message is to challenge some of the narrow and stifling stereotypes that have been associated with the female gender and to offer in its place a broader, healthier, more democratic view of what girls are capable of doing when they are empowered. The advertisement successfully places focus on the brand and subsequently leads to a positive valence associated with the brands products. This would aim to progress through the 'liking' and 'preference' stage of the model. (Very moving ad - do watch!)


Thus, according to the Hierarchy of Effects model, the aim of successful advertising would be to promote progression through the cognitive and affective stages so that the consumer proceeds to the cognitive stage and subsequently is influenced to purchase the product. 


Lavidge, R. J., & Steiner, G. A. (1961). A model for predictive measurements of advertising effectiveness. The Journal of Marketing, 59-62.

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