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 18, 2015

It can cut through anything!!

The extreme situations template uses unrealistic situations to show off key features of the product. The template includes three versions: absurd alternative, extreme attribute, and extreme worth versions. The absurd alternative version demonstrates that it is easy to use the product, but there is an alternative if the consumer wants it. This alternative is portrayed as so extreme and absurd that it would never be considered and the product becomes the obvious option. In the extreme attribute version, a key part of the product is exaggerated greatly, to unrealistic proportions. The same effect occurs in the extreme worth version; here, the worth of the product is greatly exaggerated, (Goldenberg & Mazursky, 1999). 

In the above advertisement for WMF knives, the extreme attribute version of the extreme situations template is used. The attribute exaggerated is the knife's sharpness, as the advertisement suggests it is so sharp it will cut through the wood on the chopping board as well as just the carrots. The caption “sharper than you think” supports this, suggesting that the knife is capable of cutting through more than you expect it to- above and beyond the usual ingredients it would be used for, but also above and  beyond what it would actually need to be used for. 


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

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