Advertising and Attitude Change

manholeSo let’s put what we’ve read/talked about regarding attitude change into practice. Check out the ad above. What do you think, is it more likely to operate effectively via the central or peripheral route to persuasion? Why do you say that? Now consider the three factors that influence persuasion as discussed by the Yale Attitude Change approach–how would you evaluate the way in which the creators of this ad handled these factors?

In short, knowing all that you now know about the science of persuasion and attitude change, what about this ad works and doesn’t work in your opinion?

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21 Responses to Advertising and Attitude Change

  1. In looking at what works and what doesn’t work in this ad. I defiantly think this ad goes too far to personify a disease. I think it’s kind of ridiculous to represent Hepatitis B as a masked person almost tricking you into falling into danger. Hepatitis B is a disease, it’s preventable and treatable. It can be life threatening but, in my opinion, this ad goes too far to make it seem mysterious and unavoidable.

  2. Jason Mark says:

    I that that this ad definitely takes a central route to persuasion. It is very direct in the message it seeks to bring, and there is not much lying under the surface. I do think however, that it does tap into deeper human fears of uncertainty and the dangers and stresses that come with living in an uncertain and changing world. Credibility wise, its unclear exactly what the organization behind the poster is. I feel like it would be more powerful if it came for example, from the city or from the CDC or such. I do think that the more powerful features of this ad come from the more general human fear/emotion mentioned above, but aside from that, fail to real give a compelling argument to its attitude change.

    • Elliad Dagan says:

      I think that this ad is actually taking the peripheral route to persuasion, but by pretty much the same reasons you stated above. It does not give any concrete reasoning for why people should be tested or vaccinated, for or against. As you said it plays more to “deeper human fears of uncertainty” and is meant to scare people into action without thinking much about it. I think it is effective because it is very attention grabbing and keeps me intrigued with the negative spin of “don’t let it catch you off guard.” It is stronger and more memorable this way than if it was “preventing.”

      • Michael Rogalski says:

        I agree with Jason that this targets the central route to persuasion, but for different reasons. While it does play on fear, think about the message itself (factor 2 in Yale Attitude Approach) and its target audience (factor 3). The message is about awareness and prevention of Hep B, a potentially dangerous disease. The advertisement discusses the long-term risks of the disease and contains plenty of substantive information, as well as a link and QR code to learn more. Nobody who takes the peripheral route wants to clink links to learn more, so they must be hoping for central processing.

        Additionally, the ad targets Asian Americans in the US who more likely than not have likely been primed (by their Western lifestyle) to think analytically rather than holistically. AKA they will immediately focus on the main character of the ad, the Asian man who is now in danger. Then, they will read the sidebar to figure out why the protagonist is in danger and voila, they are genuinely afraid for themselves (as other Asians susceptible to Hep B) and reading more information. The ad provides both substantial fear (but not too much fear) and education on how to reduce it, which should lead to central route processing.

        A final thought: Why would this organization want the information processed peripherally, when it is known that peripheral attitude changes are short-lived and prone to change?

        • Zihan Chai says:

          I find it hard to categorize this ad as an attempt to persuade via the central route. The ad itself contains no data to support the argument it is trying to sell (e.g. the number of Hep B patients, the death it causes annually, etc.). On the bottom left, it has some fine print about the connection between Hep B and cancer, but it is really hard to read. And perhaps that’s the advertiser’s intention. The message is nowhere near a nuanced scrutinization, and it appeals to the image of a man falling into a well to persuade people to make a medical decision. I don’t think this is how central route works, and in my view, this ad is more of a peripheral persuasion.

  3. Rachel Lai says:

    I think this ad would be more effective via the peripheral route to persuasion. It doesn’t really give that much information or enough facts for someone to weigh the pros and the cons. In my opinion, this ad is a little overdramatic and would probably work better with audiences that aren’t very thoughtful. After looking at the ad for a few minutes, it just seems kind of silly to me to depict Hepatitis B as a person, but people who don’t think too deeply about the ad might be more receptive to the overall message. Someone who is tired and disassociated (those who are more likely to take the peripheral route) might actually be persuaded by looking at the big picture/message. I also think that this ad would only work for a very specific kind of person. I take things very literally, and an ad like this seems a little ridiculous to me. I know Hep B isn’t a person, and I know I’m not about to fall into a hole, so that makes it difficult for me to take this ad seriously.

    • Profile photo of tkolbj01 tkolbj01 says:

      I definitely agree, in a peripheral route it makes the connection between danger (the pothole) and Hep B (because its written there) but no deep thought is needed, there are no facts or persuasive arguments and the source is not emphasized so its hard to determine credibility. The message is also very simple (no two sided arguments here no mention of another possible side) so this hints at a peripheral route as well. This looks like an add that would be seen in a magazine to me so the audience is likely not in a mental state of deep thought or having any desire to put deep mental effort into a central route for attitude change so it is likely effective in that sense, even though it fails for us who are looking at it through a more critical psychological lens.

      • Profile photo of bren01 bren01 says:

        I also agree that this is more effective in taking the peripheral route because it is very dramatic, and provides a very simple message that doesn’t require much more thought. It relies on human fear, rather than critical thought. It really doesn’t tell you much about the disease, or any concrete benefits or details about getting tested.

    • kate weddleton says:

      I disagree that this ad is operating via the peripheral route, because it is using fear arousing communication to get its message across. The text explains that, if a message creates a moderate amount of fear but that viewers believe the message contains methods to reduce this fear, then they will change their attitudes using the ventral route. Not only does this ad try to convey a message of fear (the faceless man and the hole), but it then offers the solution to that fear in the text. I believe this will make viewers more likely to analyze the text intently.

      • I agree. I think the image is interesting and fear provoking, and having an arousing image will cause the viewer to read the text more closely. This reminds me of the warnings on cigarette cartons that are accompanied by gory or morbid images.

  4. Something I noticed about this ad is that, based on the text, is that the target audience is intended to be Asians. While the man in the ad is of Asian decent, I personally would not have made any associated between Asians, specifically, and the importance Hepatitis B testing. Unless this ad were shown to a predominately Asian population, it seems to me that the effectiveness of this could be improved by making the target audience more obvious, rather than just stated in small text at the corner of the ad.

    • Yasie Nejad says:

      I agree. I think its centered to an audience that isn’t universal. I also think that the medium plays an essential role in the ad. I think overall, it is a good warning for what they are trying to portray and that their message is getting across to the viewer.

  5. Profile photo of Ki Jung Lee Ki Jung Lee says:

    I think this ad is more effective via the peripheral route of persuasion. For the message source, the ad creator included credibility because the ad showed the QR code with the official looking name of the organization (“B Free Ceed”). Therefore, this has a greater appeal to the peripheral route. Then, for the message, I think the creator definitely targeted the peripheral route because it shows an image of a man about to fall into the sink hole to emphasize the importance of testing for Hepatitis B. It does not really provide evidences like benefits for Hepatitis B testings. The image itself sort of initiates the fear from the viewers without them truly consider many facts about Hepatitis B testing and Hepatitis B. For the audience, the ad creator targeted wide range of audience. Thus, the ad used the powerful image to appeal to the audience and did not provide depth of information for people to have a chance to scrutinize. I think the ad works if I were to see it as I passed by. It appeals to my peripheral route and I would be easily persuaded because I would not use my brain to think thoroughly.

  6. Elliad Dagan says:

    I would say that this ad is taking the peripheral route of persuasion. I come to this conclusion because it is very visual and it tells a story, it does not at all inform me about hepatitis b. Only in the small font off to the side does it even tell me that hepatitis b is bad for you and the possible effects it can have to your health. Evaluating the ad in terms of the three factors of the Yale Attitude Change approach I think they did a decent job. Starting with the message source, it is a paper ad, not too much going on. They add some credibility to it as they have the protagonist being a well dressed man in a suit which adds some authority. Not exactly the most handsome model, but certainly not someone unattractive. Moving on to the message itself it is very provocative emotionally. It brings me back to the cartoons where someone would throw a black hole in front of someone and they would fall through. There is someone in an all black bodysuit lifting up manhole covers in front of unknowing pedestrians; terrifying. I do not know what hepatitis b is, but I do know that it is awful and sneaky. Lastly to the audience. I would not have guessed it but the small blurb informs us that hepatitis b is very high among Asians, so they do a good job having an Asian model to make the target audience feel more related to the issue. I do not know where the ad was placed, but it would have been more effective if it was in some Asian targeted magazine or website versus another group of people. All in all I believe it is an effective advertisement for hepatitis b testing, not an easy feat.

  7. kate weddleton says:

    A lot of the comments here make a compelling argument that this ad operates using the peripheral route to persuasion, but I would disagree. The textbook says that whether people take the peripheral route to persuasion or the central route is determined by 1) if they have the motivation and 2) if they have the ability to pay attention to the facts of the topic. The issue of motivation stands out to me in particular, because in personifying a disease in such a dramatic, tangible, and even somewhat terrifying way, this ad gathers people’s direct attention and forces them to then read through the rest of the text. This text not only contains explicit facts about hepatitis and why the target group ought to get tested, but it also is also quite small, which makes me think that people would have to be reading it intently in order to see it at all.
    For someone who stops short of reading the text, however, the approach is definitely peripheral. I do think that the creators of the ad intended for people, especially the target group, to read the text. It would be interesting to know where this ad was placed; if it were in a magazine or some other medium that people read intently, then it would probably gather more central route attention than if it were on, say, a subway train, where people could be tired (lack motivation to read through the entire text) and could be several feet away from the ad (lack ability to see the entire text easily).
    Overall, I think the ad does a good job of establishing a credible source as well as using a relatively attractive man to deliver its message (source of communication). The argument itself may be less persuasive, since it is obviously trying to influence its viewers (nature of communication). And finally, it’s hard to say much about the nature of the audience, since we don’t know where this ad was or what medium it was on, etc. But as I mentioned before, an ad on the subway might attract a more distracted audience, and therefore might actually be more persuasive, even if people can’t/don’t read the text at the bottom left.

    • Swhite13 says:

      I agree completely. I think the medium in which this ad was presented plays a large role in the route to persuasion. The subway is a perfect example. The subway is probably the only place where I fully analyze, or at least read all the text on an ad, usually out of pure boredom. And as Kate said above, even if they can’t or don’t read the text at the bottom, a medium such as the subway would probably be most persuasive.

  8. Profile photo of jstone08 jstone08 says:

    I would argue that the ad targets the central route to persuasion more effectively in this case. I say that because when you see this ad, it is not a subliminal message, it takes time to look at and think about. In fact, when I first saw the ad I had a double take and my initial perception of the ad was very different from my second. The ad forces you to read small text after grabbing your attention.

    The first factor, (1) Message Source, the man in the ad is dressed well, the ad appears to be professional, the lighting is good, they clearly put in a lot of effort into the wording of the advertisement. I would say they have achieved high credibility.

    The second factor, (1) Message Content, the ad executes this component well by supplying compelling evidence, “Hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer…”.

    Lastly, the audience, the ad seems to be specifically targeting the Asian community both in literal text and visuals displaying an Asian man about to walk into a pot hole. I honestly do not know how they would tailor the ad to target different minority groups and I don’t think that I can speak to that accurately so I will not.

  9. Yasie Nejad says:

    I think that this ad is slightly over exaggerated in the sense that it’s a person acting as Hepatitis B. It makes it seem as though the person walking will walk right in the hole no matter what. I understand the message that it is trying to portray but i don’t fully agree with how it is being presented.

  10. Kavya Boorgu says:

    I believe this ad is likely to operate using the peripheral route to persuasion. The peripheral route relies on audiences that are not particularly thoughtful and exploits mental shortcuts of people. In this ad, you see an anthropomorphized version of hepatitis B luring in the unsuspecting individual. There are no immediate indications made about the biology or risk factors of the disease, no facts to scrutinize and think carefully about being at higher risk for Hepatitis B. Rather, that central route to persuasion is hidden as a small blurb in the right corner for those who are particularly inclined to pay a little more attention. But, again it’s a very weak attempt at the central route of persuasion. A nuanced argument is not presented. They repeat “get tested” a couple of times, but that is no more than a simple call to action. The Yale Attitude Approach factors are (1) message source (2) the message (3) audience. The source is testhepb.org, not some national or well known organization, but still .org and relatively credible/trustworthy. Likely something you would glance at and not give much thought to unless it was clearly not a credible source. The message here is symbolic, with the hep B trapping the individual. There are little facts provided, and no pros and cons. Finally, the audience is people of Asian heritage. They target that population by making the individual in the ad an Asian man. If you were of Asian heritage, you are likely to be more interested if you feel connected to the individual featured in the ad. I think this ad could have been carried out better. For one thing, that guy dressed up in an all-black bodysuit is too weird for me to take seriously (honestly the animated versions of diseases are easier for me to believe). But then again, if I were to do a quick mindless glance, I wouldn’t think too much of it. On a more serious note, I would put more detail in the panel. Perhaps more focus to reach the target audience, and some nuance in the argument such as slightly mentioning why you might not want to get a test and then disproving it.

  11. I understand the counter argument to why this ad uses the peripheral route but I do not think it is strong enough as an argument to convince me that the advertisement uses the central route of persuasion. First off, it cannot be ignored that the supplemental information is tiny and barely noticeable. There is one clear argument: that hepatitis b is scary and turns up suddenly. The source is unclear because the foundation’s title is not immediately noticeable. The message also appears to lack credibility because of the use of scare tactics. The argument is one sided. There is no counter argument. There audience is also unclear. Even though they clarify in the small text that it is geared towards asain men I did not get this impression from viewing the add. I think a better campaign would be something like “there is more you need to know about hepatitis b” and would have more clearly stated information because it has to do with a serious medical issue.

  12. I believe this ad uses both the central and peripheral route to get its message across to multiple different individuals with different accessible informations and schemas. As a peripheral route the ad employs the masked man and gaping sewage drain to entice a specific emotion, disturbing or uncomfortable feelings, making possible connections with other diseases or similar situations where we have been “caught off guard”. Meanwhile drawing your attention to the main message of preventing Hepatitis B by reading and thinking about what the font on the ad is trying to convey. Regarding the Yale Attitude Change approach the message source, the message and the audience were clearly all part of the creative process when designing the ad. The source seems to be credible from a reputable source and clearly trying to appear likeable since the protagonist is dressed smartly and is generally attractive. The message again shows both peripheral and central route components. First it provides strong evidence as why Asians are more prone to the disease through the central route. Second, it also seems to try to provide multiple facts that will hopefully be retained. The bottom right corner provides some information pertaining toward a target audience this was intended towards, the general public but specifically toward Asians. I think in general this is a good ad while they could have made the central route message clearer it still completes its desired goal; to call for attention, elicit thought and hopeful change behavior.

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