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.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

BMW: rear-view camera


In this short advertisement, BMW introduces a new device: A rear-view camera. With the help of several persuasive techniques the company makes sure that their device is shown to be unique and therefore memorable for viewers.

First of all, both of the actors in the ad are physically attractive. Physical attractiveness makes viewers want to identify with the people in the ad more (Pratkanis, 2007). In addition, the man and the woman find themselves in a situation everyone has probably experienced before (meeting for a date), which enables the viewer to easily identify with the situation. If a viewer can identify with the communicators in an ad, because communicator and communicatee show similarities, the degree of influence of an ad will be higher (Berscheid, 1966). Finally, the ending of the ad causes the viewer to expect that the guy will probably be getting some more of these kisses or even something better at the end of the night. Sexual innuendos like these model desire, which can then be associated with a desire for the product that is being advertised (Mick & Politi, 1989).

In addition, music accentuates the action in the ad: First, it conveys the happiness and excitement of a date, and then suddenly stops when there is uncertainty to how the woman will react and then picks back up when the tension is resolved. Music has been shown to work persuasively in two ways: Firstly, it stimulates and excites, therefore augmenting pictures and colours that are shown in the ad and making the viewer pay attention (Hecker, 1984). Secondly, it reinforces perception of the advertisement, which the viewer might not even be conscious of (Alexomanolaki, Loveday, & Kennett, 2006).

Finally, this advertisement uses humour as a persuasive technique. Humour has been shown to enhance attention and positive affect (Eisend, 2009). It also leads to a more positive perception of the advertiser credibility and a more positive attitude towards the commercial (Belch & Belch, 1984). In addition, it increases liking of the ad and the brand (Weinberger & Gulas, 1992). 

In conclusion, this advertisement uses humour to enhance liking, and shows the viewer a situation he/she could imagine herself being in. This situation, as the viewer can easily imagine, could have gone horribly wrong but was resolved in a happy ending. With the help of the persuasive techniques that are used, the viewer will remember that BMW has introduced a new device. In addition, the ending might also leave the viewer wondering whether the woman might have reacted differently were it not for the wonderful BMW, which might get the viewer to think about whether he should not buy one himself.


Alexomanolaki, M., Loveday, C., & Kennett, C. (2006). Music and memory in advertising: Music as a device of implicit learning and recall. In Baroni, M., Addessi, A. R., Caterina, R., & Costa, M. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition (pp. 1190-1198). Bologna, Italy: ICMPC-ESCOM.
Belch, G. E., & Belch, M. C. (1984). An investigation of the effects of repetition on cognitive and affective reactions to humourous and serious television commericals. Advances in Consumer Research, 11, 4-10.
Berscheid, E. (1966). Opinion change and communicator-communicatee similarity and dissimilarity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4 (6), 670-680.
Eisend, M. (2009). A meta-analysis of humor in advertising. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 37 (2), 191-203.
Hecker, S. (1984). Music for advertising effect. Psychology and Marketing, 1(3-4), 3-8.
Mick, D. G., & Politi, L. G. (1989). Consumers' interpretations of advertising imagery: A visit to the hell of connotation. In E. C. Hirschman (Ed.), Interpretive Consumer Research (pp. 85-96). Provo, UT: Association of Consumer Research.
Weinberger, M. G., & Gulas, C. S. (1992). The impact of humor in advertising: A review. Journal of Advertising, 21 (4), 35-59.

Anna Werner

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