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, March 21, 2018

‘If you Could see the Damage you’d Stop’

This video was used as a television advertisement in the United Kingdom in 2012 to reduce smoking.

It is a clear example of the Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986) as it uses both the central route and peripheral route in conjunction for maximum effect.

The Central Route
The advertisement uses facts about the negative impact smoking can have on the body, with a large focus on cancer. The advertisement indicates that every 15 cigarettes you smoke will cause a mutation which can lead to cancer.  This creates a compelling and rational argument to stop smoking.

The Peripheral Route
The peripheral route states that selling items works well if the person in the advertisement is attractive. This advert has used this technique backwards. To discourage people from smoking they use a very plain looking man smoking on a gloomy day. This reduces the ‘coolness’ often associated with smoking and makes it look as unattractive as possible in the attempt encourage people to quit.

The clear stand-out graphic of this advertisement is the tumour which grows from the cigarette. As smoking destroys the body in a hidden way, this tumour creates a fear appeal in the audience as you can physically see what is happening inside the body when you smoke, and it doesn’t look too pleasant! This fear from the peripheral route of persuasion helps deter people from smoking.

All of these factors together work well in deglamourizing smoking thus discouraging people from partaking.

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. In Communication and persuasion. Springer New York.

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