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.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Grab your friends, put the kettle on and have a coffee… just make sure it’s NESCAFÉ Gold

Simple message
Simple questions and a simple message means it accesses the Peripheral Route of persuasion of decision making, bypassing the logical thinking aspect and touching on the emotional decision making (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). I am really not the biggest fan of a coffee but after watching this advert I’m even tempted to gather my friends, put the kettle on and enjoy a cup of Nescafé.

Emotional Persuasion
Dual processing theory (Brewer, 1988) presents system 1 thinking which is involved in the emotional decision-making process and therefore a simple and easy to process advert like this one, makes us think about our own lives in relation to the questions being asked. All decision is based on emotion and therefore the hard-hitting realisation of how many people you lose contact with prompts you to want to sit down and catch up even with a coffee

Personal relevance
The man in the advert asks simple questions to the crowd of 80,000. This prompts you to become more personally invested, thinking about the 80,000 people you are said to meet in your life, as well as those who you would consider being special enough to share a ‘cuppa’ with. This level of personal relevance can impact the level of persuasion (Ghuge, 2010)
The main idea of the campaign is to show the importance of spending time with loved ones. This is the underlying link between the care we go through maintaining the important relationships in life and the implied care that went into making the new Special blend of Nescafé Gold

Background music- ‘Stand by Me’ Ben E. King
Previous studies showed that advertisements which play old songs prompt nostalgia, eliciting a positive mood in the viewer, with the relevance to the advertisement message prompting a positive attitude towards the message (Chou & Lien, 2010). The ‘Stand by Me’ song relates to the importance of friendship which Nescafe is aiming to focus on. The song was released in 1961 which in turn may influence older viewers to think back to their early years and some friends they might have lost contact with. This would strengthen the importance of friendship and makes the message of having a cup of coffee with your loved ones stronger.

He’s just an ordinary person
Nescafe has been clever in not using flashy celebrities, as by using an ordinary actor this prompts the viewers to relate to him more. He shows his weakness, almost sharing his life story such as nicknames at school which many of us could relate to.  Social comparison theory by Festinger (1954) suggests we are more likely to listen to people who we feel are similar to us. Therefore, we get onboard with the idea that maybe you’d like to find those you value so highly and grab a cup of coffee with them.

Nescafe know what they are doing
Nescafe has had success in the past when using adverts with stories behind it. In the 5-year advert series ‘Love over gold’- people become invested through storytelling. This had a huge impact on sales, with a 50% increase in the UK alone (Fog et al, 2005). The 12 episodes for 5 years increased the emotional involvement with the story being said to gain audiences’ attention, even when the product was taking a backseat throughout the 5-year story.

The technique of storytelling was shown to be successful back in 1980s, as well as today. Stories tend to be remembered more than facts and previous studies have shown the benefits of brand stories to create positive brand associations and personal value of the product (Lundqvist et al, 2013). Nescafe has successfully shown the success of capturing audience attention with less focus on the product itself.


Brewer, M. B. (1988). A dual process model of impression formation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Chou, H. Y., & Lien, N. H. (2010). Advertising effects of songs' nostalgia and lyrics' relevance. Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics22(3), 314-329.

Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human relations7(2), 117-140.
Fog, K., Budtz, C., & Yakaboylu, B. (2005). Storytelling in Advertising. Storytelling: Branding in Practice, 150-173.

Ghuge, S. (2010). The role of personal relevance and mood on the persuasive impact of gain and loss frames in advertising messages about a vaccine against alcohol addiction. Iowa State University.

Lundqvist, A., Liljander, V., Gummerus, J., & Van Riel, A. (2013). The impact of storytelling on the consumer brand experience: The case of a firm-originated story. Journal of Brand Management20(4), 283-297.

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In Communication and persuasion (pp. 1-24). Springer New York.

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