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, February 1, 2013

CDC Quit Smoking Ad

CDC Quit Smoking Ad

This advert is part of a range in which former smokers give ‘tips’ from their personal daily lives. They are very powerful because these are people who have suffered greatly from smoking. In this particular advert, Terrie talks us through her morning routine respective to the extra things she must do because of how much smoking has affected her body. This advert specifically targets smokers as the main objective is to help people quit, however also indirectly causes fear in non-smokers.

The CDC uses negative information to get the message across, while also not explicitly stating that smokers should quit due to these negative effects. It has been found that negative information tends to be more salient and to explore this, Ito, Larsen, Smith and Cacioppo (1998) recorded ERPs when participants were presented with negative, positive or neutral information. They found a main effect of ERPs on negative information compared to both positive and neutral information.

The advert also uses fear appeals as an emotional tactic. A study explored the specific contexts of how fear appeals work, in cases where people have high involvement or low involvement with the product.  Participants with high involvement with the product were affected more, highlighting the effects of fear appeal in the smoking commercial with respect to smokers specifically (Cochrane & Quester, 2005).

The fear appeal coupled with negative information attempts to discourage one viewpoint, smoking, and in turn encourage another, quitting.

Cochrane , L. & Quester, P. (2005): Fear in Advertising. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 17, 7-32
Ito, T.A., Larsen, J.T., Smith, N.K. & Cacioppo, J.T. (1998). Negative Information Weighs More Heavily on the Brain: The Negativity Bias in Evaluative Categorizations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 887-900. 

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