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, February 5, 2014

All Hail the King

Its not exactly timeless but its still a debate; Burger King vs. McDonalds. While I personally favor the King (gotta love that double bacon XL) there’s fierce competition between these two giants of the fast-food industry. Unfortunately Burger King (BK) always falls short of McDonalds powerhouse sales, in 2013 the difference was a whopping $26.93 billion! In an attempt to get an edge, BK launched a series of competition adverts such as the one above.

Off the bat you can clearly see the use of Goldenberg et al. (1999) competition template, in particular ‘worth in competition’. This works on the assumptions that a) there will be an expected superiority over the competing product and b) the advert will challenge the worth/quality of the competing product. Going by the sales history this seems to be bit of a risky move; nevertheless it drives the point home, why wouldn’t you want to eat like a king?

The worth of McDonald’s burgers is challenged by essentially reducing their entire range of products to ‘clown food’. Therefore the contrast principle (Cialdini, 1984) also comes into play, by comparing the lifestyle of a King to a clown, BK’s products come across as more appealing.

To top it off, BK leaves you with a giant picture of a whopper to get your taste buds watering. This isn’t just a chance to show off their cosmetically altered super-burger (we all know what it looks like in real life), it’s another attempt to try and persuade you. First off, this type of ad heavily relies on the repetition effect (Pratkanis, 2007). Being plastered over numerous bus stops across the country increases the liking of a product via the mere exposure effect; the more you see it, the more you like it. Secondly, the picture holds key characteristics, which are crucial for increasing appeal to potential customers. Using semi-structured interviews for a range of food advertisements, Norrena (2012) found the most successful ads used a large close-up of the product, which was clear and unhindered by lots of descriptive text and made a clear link back to its brand to ensure quality. Take a look at the ad above and tell me how it compares to these findings.

In the end it seems that BK's fighting a losing the battle against McDonalds, whether it’s down to advertising, the number of stores or just product inferiority. Regardless, the ads certainly work on me; I’ll stay true to the one and only King.

Greg Vail - Blog 2

Cialdini, R. B. (1984). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, London.

Goldenberg, J., Mazursky, D., Solomon, S. (1999). The fundamental templates of quality ads. Marketing Science, 18, 333-351.

Norrena, V. (2012). What influences the reader in food advertising 2012. Finnish periodical publishers association, 3, 1-5.

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

1 comment:

  1. Great Greg, i particularly like the way you set the scene with the first paragraph.


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