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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Become a VEGAN!

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a vegan diet has numerous health benefits. This advertisement persuades people to become a vegan by showing a vegan celebrity, Beyonce and by stating its health benefits. 

Firstly, this advertisement uses a rhetorical question- "Want to be as fit as Beyonce?". The use of a rhetorical question enhances thinking especially when the message is less relevant for the reader. The advert also states the health benefits of a vegan diet, which backs the question up with a strong positive argument, making the advert more persuasive (Petty and Cacioppo, 1981). Tom and Eves (1999) found that an advert that uses a rhetorical question performs better on persuasion and recall.

By putting an image of Beyonce, an extremely fit celebrity, this advert uses celebrity endorsement as the second persuasive technique. Atkin and Block (1983) conducted an experiment to compare the effect of celebrity and non-celebrity endorsement on different advertisements. It was found that advertisements endorsed by celebrities were considered to be more attractive, trustworthy and favourable.

A study by Millgram (1963) Bickman (1974) shows that a message conveyed by an authoritative figure has a higher agreeability rate as participants tend to obey their orders. An experiment conducted by Hovland and Weiss (1951) demonstrates that people tend to trust the information when it comes from a credible source. In this advertisement, the image of the doctor represents an authoritative figure and writing "According to Doctors" shows that the information is coming from a credible source, which will persuade the reader to follow a vegan diet.


Atkin, C., & Block, M. (1983). Effectiveness of celebrity endorsers. Journal Of Advertising ResearchVol 23(1), 57-61.

Bickman, L. (1974). The social power of a uniform. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 4(1), 47-61.

Cacioppo, J. T., & Petty, R. E. (1981). Effects of rhetorical questions on persuasion: A cognitive response analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 432-440.

Hovland, C. I. & Weiss, W. (1951). The influence of source credibility on communication effectiveness. Public Opinion Quarterly, 15, 635-650.

Milgram, S. (1963). Behavioral study of obedience. The Journal of abnormal and social psychology67, 371.

Tom, G., & Eves, A. (1999). The use of rhetorical devices in advertising. Journal of Advertising Research, 39-43.

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