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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This advertisement was used from 1999-2002 to promote Budweiser beers. The advert shows a group of friends sitting around watching a football game and drinking Budweiser.

The most memorable part of the advert is the repetition of the phrase ‘Whassup’. This was used to associate with the audience, and to aim to create a brand slogan which would stay in the mind of the target. Even if nothing else is remembered from the advert, this slogan is likely to be used in many conversations, and therefore Budweiser will be promoting their product through these conversations.

This advert uses source credibility in a number of ways. For example, this advertisement provides an example of the  ‘Just Plain Folks’ technique, which aims to make the target feel as if they can relate to the actors. Budweiser’s target audience is old teenage/young adult men, and therefore the actors used are all men of a similar young age. The technique used here is the similarity alter cast, and much research hs found that source-recipient similarity increases influence and persuasion. For example, Baron (1971) found that similar attitudes increased compliance towards a particular issue. This technique uses Festinger’s (1954) social comparison process, which proposes that people are more likely to follow others that are similar to themselves.

A further technique used in this advert is associative casting and avoidant miscasting. Most people prefer to be linked to desirable others, and in this advert most young males will think it looks ‘cool’ to be like the actors in this advert (drinking Bud and watching the football game).  For example, Siegel and Siegel (1957) used participants who all shared attitudes with a similar group at the beginning. Over the course of the study, participants were forced to join other groups (due to a random event), who held dissimilar attitudes. It was found that many participants changed their attitudes to fit in with the new group, and that those who wanted to be part of a particular group adopted the most similar attitudes to the members of the group.

Baron, R. A. (1971). Aggression as a function of magnitude of victim’s pain cues, level of prior anger arousal and aggressor-victim similarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18, 48-54

Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117-140.

Siegel, A. E., & Siegel, S. (1957). Reference groups, membership groups, and attitude change. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 1046-1058.


  1. Nice ad. Can you explain a bit more about the Seigel and Seigel research?

  2. I've updated it, with explanation of the Siegel and Siegel research


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