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 21, 2018

Cadbury's and Positions of Authority

This advert for Cadbury’s cocoa depicts a judge drinking the cocoa offered in this product, with the quotation marks describing the Cadbury’s cocoa as “refreshing”. This is an example of using the authority in advertising as a persuasion technique. This is because people like to listen to those most trustworthy and knowledgeable, and someone in a position in authority is most likely to exhibit these traits as they are seen as an expert. Therefore, the comment that the cocoa is ‘refreshing’ is likely to be believed more by consumers when it comes from the judge than if it came from a regular person with lower authority, and so are more likely to buy the product.

This is evidenced In a study by Milgram (1963), where a ‘teacher’ and ‘learner’ were placed in different rooms and the teachers were guided by a scientist dressed in a lab coat (authority figure), the teachers were instructed to deliver electric shocks to the learners if they got questions wrong in a test. It was found that most teachers were willing to give as much pain as was available to them when they were directed to do so by an authority figure. 

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral Study of obedience. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 67(4), 371-378.

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