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
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.