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.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Apples - the Superfood with Superpowers!

Studies that have shown that fruits, such as apples, bananas, strawberries, and many others, are strongly, positively correlated with the reduced risk of developing chronic diseases, such as cancer (Boyer & Liu, 2004; Liu, 2004; Veeriah, et al., 2006). 

Therefore, I have designed this advertisement in attempt to persuade viewers to eat more apples. I used three main persuasion techniques in my ad: colours, scientific claims, and emotional appeal. 

Firstly, the bright colours (red and blue) help capture attention, especially the red text at the bottom, where the key words are capitalised to emphasise on the message: that apples help reduce the risk of cancer (Wolfe & Horowitz, 2004). 

Secondly, viewers tend to find scientific claims on advertisements to be useful, but they tend to dislike long, complex, scientifically worded claims (Williams, 2005). That is why I have simply wrote a sentence, saying that 'apples have scientifically been proven to reduce your risk of cancer', with a reference to the American Institute for Cancer Research. 

Lastly, Xie, Donthu, Lohtia and Osmonbekov (2004) has shown that a positive emotional appeal, plus an incentive, is more effective than a positive emotional message with no incentive, and than no or negative emotional appeal message, with or without incentive. Therefore, with my ad, I have tried to induce a positive emotion combined with an incentive, which is the reduced risk of cancer. The drawings have also been designed to induce a positive emotion - with the apple looking strong and tough, with a superhero cape, seemingly able to defeat the cancer cells. By adding faces to the apple and cancer cells, I then personified these objects, hence allowing increasing the viewers’ ability to visualise. The viewers would want to visualise themselves more as the apple, looking healthy and strong, not as the cancer cells, which looks sick (pink eyes and eye bags) and scared (running away). As the cost of cancer is quite high, financially and physically, people tend to want to avoid that. Hence, with a solution to reduce that risk of cancer, especially at such a low cost, viewers might want to go for that option instead. 


Boyer, J., & Liu, R. H. (2004). Apple phytochemical and their health benefits. Nutrition Journal, 3, 1475-2891. 

Liu, R. H. (2004). Potential Synergy of Phytochemicals in Cancer Prevention: Mechanism of Action. The Journal of Nutrition, 134, 3479S-3485S. 

Veeriah, S., Kautenburger, T., Habermann, N., Sauer, J., Dietrich, H., Will, F. and Pool-Zobel, B. L. (2006). Apple flavonoids inhibit growth of HT29 human colon cancer cells and modulate expression of genes involved in the biotransformation of xenobiotics. Molecular Carcinogenesis, 45, 164–174.

Williams, P. (2005). Consumer Understanding and Use of Health Claims for Foods. Nutrition Science and Policy, 256-264. 

Wolfe, J. M., & Horowitz, T. S. (2004). What attributes guide the deployment of visual attention and how do they do it? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 495-501. 

Xie, T., Donthu, N., Lohtia, R., & Osmonbekov, T. (2004). Emotional Appeal and Incentive Offering in Banner Advertisements. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 4, 30-37.

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