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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Zazoo Condom Advertisement

This is a french condom advertisement, persuading adults to use condoms if they do not want to experience having a child like that in the video. This advertisement is voted as the best commercial in Europe 2007.

One of the technique used in this commercial is to control the flow of information. A research found that selective presentation of information can bias decision-making. For example, showing biased information in college newspaper would change students’ opinions about a political event (Annie & Meier, 1934). In this advertisement, it only showed a bias case (A particular child getting completely mad about his dad, who refused to buy him a bag of candies). This advertisement selectively presented the worst nightmare that a child could bring to parents. This could bias decision-making and effectively persuade target adults to use condoms. 

Another technique used is fear appeal. Researches showed that fear is effective in changing attitudes and behavior when (i) the appeal arouses intense fear, (ii) a specific recommendation for overcoming the fear is present, (iii) the target believes he can perform the recommendation (Maddux & Rogers, 1983). In this advertisement, the angry child will induce fear to the target adults. A specific recommendation to overcome the fear is provided in the advertisement (using condoms). It is easy for target adults to perform the recommendation given by the advertisement. The video successfully demonstrated the 3 points that researchers suggested, resulting in an effective fear appeal.

The last technique used is negativity effect. Research demonstrated that negative information receives more attention than positive information when one is making judgement about things. Hodges (1974) gave participants personality descriptors varying in the amount of positive and negative information and he found that negative information had a greater effect on evaluation. In this advertisement, the negative consequences of having a child is shown. Target adults will receive more attention and make a judgement that can avoid this consequence.


Annis, A.D., & Meier, N. C. (1934). The induction of opinion through suggestion by means of “planted content”. Journal of Social Psychology, 5, 65-81.

Hodges, B. H. (1974). Effect of valence on relative weighting in impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 378-381

Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1980). Effects of source expertise, physical attractiveness, and suppporting arguments on persuasion: A case of brains over beauty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 235-244


  1. Wonderful ad, and nice description of several angles of supporting research.

  2. Small correction: it's actually a belgian commercial. But what a classic.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.