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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Follow The Frog


In this advert the Rainforest Alliance demonstrates that guilt tripping people isn’t the only way to raise awareness for worthy causes. Instead you can simply use comedy and humour to encourage people to change and listen to the message.

The adverts follows the journey of an everyday individual, just like you and I, who experiences the universal feeling that we could be doing more to help the environment. Unfortunately his decision process is rather unconventional, and results in him ending up in the rainforest, defeated, only to return home to no job, wife, or house. Upon which he realises he could have made a difference in a much simpler way; by following the frog.

The advert takes advantage of the effectiveness of humour in advertising.  Essentially we prefer, and pay more attention to, ads which make us laugh. For instance De Pelsmacker and Gueuens (1998) looked at adverts in Belgium and Poland, and found humour to have the most effective emotional appeal, with adverts using humour generating the most attention. Krishnan and Chakravarti (2003), in their study, found that moderate humour in an advert can help people remember the brand better, due to more processing of the advert. The current advert utilises this by ensuring that we are laughing along at this man’s bizarre venture, whilst still taking in the message it is telling us.

We all experience the notion that we’re not doing enough, and the advert takes full advantage of this. The advert emphasises this common feeling, providing us with an individual who we can all relate to and empathise with. Different techniques are used to achieve this.  Firstly the man in the ad is portrayed as an average person.  He has a normal job, with a family, and is generally ordinary. Pratkanis (2007) calls this the similarity altercast; we are more likely to be influenced if we are similar to the person giving the message.  Additionally creating empathetic concern for what this individual is going through essentially increases our likelihood of agreeing to do what is suggested, in order to get rid of the negative state (Pratkanis, 2007). In this case, we all might feel guilty that we could be doing more towards helping the environment, like the guy in the advert. So when we find out that we don’t have to go through what he did, but simply choose the product at the end of the advert, we can relieve ourselves of this feeling by going out and buying the ‘right’ product.

A final technique this advert employs is telling the audience how to solve the dilemma. After observing the many ways not to go about saving the planet, we are told how we can do it. We’re not given an open choice, we are told one choice; buy the products with a frog on. Hovland and Mandell (1952) found that audience’s opinion was changed more if the conclusion was given by the communicator compared to them creating a conclusion themselves. Thus, by not being given multiple solutions, or just told what not to do, we are informed how we must behave and consequently are much more likely to be convinced.


De Pelsmacker, P., & Geuens, M. (1998). Reactions to different types of ads in belgium and poland. International Marketing Review, 15, 277-290. 

Hovland, C. I., & Mandell, W. (1952). Experimental Comparison of Conclusion-Drawing by the Communicator and by the Audience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 47, 581-588.

Krishnan, H. S., & Chakravarti, D. (2003). A Process Analysis of the Effects of Humorous Advertising Executions on Brand Claims Memory. Consumer Psychology, 13, 230-245.

Pratkanis, A. (2007). The science of social influence: Advances and future progress. Psychology Press, New York, NY.

Aaron Chaloner

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this, well done. Id also say that there is some perceptual contrast there too. Just buying frog products looks that much easier compared to his jungle adventure.


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