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

Milking it: Cadbury’s Devious Dance

Have you been put on hold AGAIN? Are you listening to the hold music whilst it takes endless time to get through? Cadbury Dairy Milk’s new advert likes to think it has the solution to your problem.

This fun little advert depicts a boss sat in his office, eating a slab of Dairy Milk chocolate and dancing to music after being put on hold. He appears to be ‘just a normal person’ having fun in a circumstance that most people may find annoying.  

By using the simple idea of source-recipient similarity, the brand increases the impact of their persuasive message, forming a bond between the consumer and the ‘ordinary guy’ on the advert (Pratkanis, 2007). Festinger’s (1954) Social Comparison Process explains this premise of similarity, whereby individuals use people similar to themselves as reference points for opinions and actions. For example, Aune and Basil’s (1994) experiment, found significant increases in donations to charity when the requester said they were similar to the person donating. Therefore, by using this ‘ordinary guy’ in their advert, Cadburys may make the consumer more inclined to purchasing their chocolate as the boss seems to be similar to the average person. After all, if it just takes a slab of chocolate to have fun in a boring situation, why wouldn’t you want to buy a bar?

Additionally, Cadburys have a history of creating adverts to make you smile, from dancing clothes to the iconic drumming gorilla. This boss is happily dancing, which makes him and his co-workers happy and at the end, the advert asks the consumer to free the joy. Isen & Levin (1972) uncovered that people are more compliant to requests when they are in a positive mood. Therefore, with this fun and happy advert, a consumer may be more likely to buy a Dairy Milk bar as they may associate this product with their mood.

Don’t be fooled, you don’t need chocolate to have a good time and be happy, but it sure does taste good!

Kimberley Brett


  • Aune, R. K., & Basil, M. D. (1994). A relational obligations approach to the Foot-In-The-Mouth Effect. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 546-556.
  • Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations, 7, 117-140.
  • Isen, A. M., & Levin, P. F.  (1972). Effect of feeling good on helping: Cookies and Kindness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 21, 384-388.
  • Pratkanis, A.R. (Ed). (2007). Social influence analyisis: An index of tactics. The Science of Social influence: Advances and future progress. New York: Psychology Press.

1 comment:

  1. The tone of your writing is great. And your last sentence raises the important point; what does having fun have to do with chocolate? It is that association that gives the advert its power.


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