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, January 24, 2014

Audience Blind to Paddy Power Persuasion

Audience Blind to Paddy Power Persuasion

In the 2010 controversial advert involving a cat being kicked across a football pitch by blind players, the outrageousness of the ad cleverly covers the real persuasive intentions of the advert.
While most na├»ve observers naturally point towards the advert promoting ‘cruelty to animals’ and ‘offensiveness to blind people’, the underlying promotion of gambling behaviours is somewhat overlooked, whilst viewers are still affected by the message.

The advert is pretty funny
As with a large number of adverts currently on TV, on face value the ad uses slapstick comedy as its main way of sticking in the viewer’s mind. Whilst humour is by no means a guarantee of a better TV ad, Paddy use it to good affect and studies suggest it is a useful way of promoting a brand message1. It should be noted that not all viewers found this advert funny, with over 1000 members of the public submitting complaints2.

‘We can’t get your cat back… but we can get you your money back’
It may appear unlikely that such an absurd advert is underpinned with persuasive mechanisms aimed to reach out to customers; but it is.
Paddy aim to come across as a generous company that are ‘happy’ to give the customer their money back, even if for example your bet on David Moyes’ Man United to win the league doesn’t quite go to plan… Thus the uninvited favour offered by Paddy to the customer in the form of a money-back guarantee places the audience in a position where they feel obliged to repay the favour with their custom3.

Contrasting a Cat with Money
The audience are further enticed by the offer of getting their money back; as the offer of money is contrasted with a cat which cannot be retrieved. The value of money-back offer is increased by the high sentimental value of the cat that preceded it4.

Ultimately adverts like this face the tough challenge of standing out in what is a highly competitive and saturated consumer-gambling market. Bearing that in mind, the use of humour, a supposed favour and the comparison of a cat with money help Paddy Power to do this.

1 Weinberger, M. G., & Gulas, C. S. (1992). The impact of humor in advertising: A review. Journal of Advertising, 21(4), 35-59.
2 (23.01.2014).
Strohmetz, D. B., Rind, B., Fisher, R., & Lynn, M. (2002). Sweetening the Till: The Use of Candy to Increase Restaurant Tipping1. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32(2), 300-309.
Tormala, Z. L., & Petty, R. E. (2007). Contextual contrast and perceived knowledge: Exploring the implications for persuasion. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43(1), 17-30.

Alex Lee

1 comment:

  1. Nicely woven together - i think you could have further explained the contrast with a cat paragraph!


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