PERSUASION IN THE MEDIA
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After a recent survey completed of favorite television commercials, we've started to analyze some of the most popular commercials. This page will analyze the persuasion techniques used by the most popular commercials that appeared on our survey.


The survey questions were as follows:

1.Age and Gender?

2.How much television do you watch in a week?

3.What time of the day do you watch the most television?

4.Have you ever been influenced by a commercial to buy a product?
If so which one(s)?

5.What is your favorite commercial?
Why?


The survey was handed out around the Worcester State College campus and was filled out by people mostly between the ages of 18-24.

The most popular commercials seem to be the most repeated commercials on television. Out of the top commercials none of them require much thought or cognitive elaboration.
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What Commercials Make The Cut?
And the winners are...
Any and all Gap commercials.

While not a single commercial really could be pointed out, all of Gap's commercials incorporating their clothes with the music and dancing was a big hit among our survey results. The commercials include culture movements such as swing dancing, countryline dancing, and hip-hop.


Pepsi

Pepsi's add campaign using a little girl and her numerous voice-overs (Aretha Franklin, Joe Pesci) depicts the girl standing up and demanding her Pepsi. The commercials also show the very young girl always accompanied by an older man, who looks like a grandfather type of character.


Budweiser Frogs

The Budweiser Frogs have been involved in numerous types of stunts and have even made it to commercial stardom in the superbowl. What started off as a simple three frogs chanting Budweiser has ended up turning into a soap opera of lizzards verses frogs with a little help from their friends. The characters have never been shown drinking Budweiser and sometimes we never even hear them say the word.


The Taco Bell Chiwawa

"Quiero Taco Bell," are the words uttered by this Spanish accented pup. He's even starred in a commercial with Godzilla when he lures the lizzard in with some tacos. He usually pops up in various places and just utters his now famous words, "Quiero Taco Bell."



A few things were very clear from our survey results, the repetition of ad campaigns seems to have worked in these cases. Also not a whole lot of thought has to be used while viewing these commercials. All of these commercials use the peripheral route to advertising success. The commercials don't say why you should buy their product or even why their product is good. The Gap, Pepsi, Budweiser, and Taco Bell have spent billions of dollars advertising their products. Unfortunately, our data isn't strong enough to determine whether it has paid off or not. Most researches today have trouble determing that now anyway.

After conducting our survey and looking at the results it appears that a lot more research has to be done in the areas of frequency and the Elaboration Likelihood Model. It seems that the most popular commercials are very popular brands. The amount of commercials we see from these big brands is enormous. It appears that facts about the products are irrelevant and that the peripheral route is mostly used throughout the major add campaigns on television. Jingles, one-liners, and celebrity's seem to be more important than the actual product. We think that the actual commercials are not selling the product. They may be promoting the brand and getting the name out there, but if you didn't like a taco supreme from taco bell, you surely wouldn't eat it because a chiwawa was telling you to. As television viewers originally, we are in the peripheral route of thinking. We are very relaxed and are being hit with a lot of information to process very quickly. We as a people have become cognitive misers. We easily accept these heuristic cues provided for us by the advertiser. We associate the Gap with happy funtime music and dance. More research has to be conducted on the actual effectiveness of these commercials when it comes to product purchasing rather than product recognition. Our survey results show that high frequency and the use of the peripheral route has lead to high results in product recognition but could not be traced to product purchasing. These cues through the peripheral route given to us are very important, the Social Psychology network says, "Pay attention to the clothes they wear and the language they use. People who tune into others will develop an intuitive sense of what makes a good argument and what makes a bad argument."



References

Social Pschology Network
(link provided)

Psycholgy Web Archive
(link provided)

Cialdini, Robert, B. The Psychology of Persuasion.Quill, New York,1993.

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