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Advertising, Attitudes, and Persuasion

Updated on December 14, 2014

Some advertisements are more effective than others while some advertisements are completely ineffective. Advertisements are typically designed to influence viewer’s behaviors and/or attitudes towards a product or cause. I personally see myself as less affected by advertising messages in the media compared to other people. I feel this way because in high school I took a media class where I was forewarned about how commercials are used to persuade people to a certain way of thinking and that a commercial does not always include all of the facts about a product or cause. In this class I learned to take commercials apart; this means that when I see a commercial I ask myself if the commercial is showing any bias and if the facts being presented in the commercial are true or not.

Here's to the crazy ones: misfits, rebels, troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

— Apple Inc

One advertisement I personally view as effective is “Iams SO GOOD! Dog Food Commercial: Real Love”. The advertisement appeals to my cognitive attitude because it states positive facts about Iams So Good dog food such as: it has no sugar added, no dyes, and no artificial preservatives. This advertisement induced thoughtful processing in me; “thoughtful message processing occurs when we think about how the message relates to our own beliefs and goals and involves our careful consideration of whether the persuasion attempt is valid or invalid” (Stangor, 2013, p. 136). In this case this advertisement caused me to think about how this dog food may be healthier for my dog than the food I am feeding him and about how switching him to Iams So Good might help me to further my goal of keeping my dog healthy. This advertisement has altered my behavior because I now look at the nutritional label before purchasing dog food and I purchase Iams So Good for my dog. This advertisement was, in my mind, an effective ad because it causes dog lovers to stop and watch when they see the cute dog; it induces emotions of worry and concern when dog owners think that the food which they are feeding their dog might not be a good food. This encourages dog owners who find their current dog food to be lacking to purchase Iams So Good dog food.

One advertisement that I view as ineffective is Yoplait’s “Little Tricks: Boyfriend Approval” Commercial. This ad attempts to appeal to the viewer’s affective attitude by telling the viewer about how Yoplait orange creme yogurt tastes both good and like orange cream. I feel this was ineffectively done because the taste of the taste of the yogurt is only mentioned once. This ad induced spontaneous processing; spontaneous message processing happens when we
“accept a persuasion attempt because we focus on whatever is most obvious or enjoyable, without much attention to the message itself” (Stangor, 2013, p. 134). In this case I noticed more about the girl getting her mother to accept her boyfriend than I did about the yogurt; the yogurt was more of a side note than the focus of the commercial. This ad had absolutely no effect on altering my attitudes or my behavior in anyway. Emotions played a big role in this ad, but the emotions were all towards the girl, her boyfriend, and her mother than the yogurt. This ad was a failure because the viewer’s emotions were not affected by the yogurt nor did the commercial focus on the yogurt. The only time yogurt is mentioned in the ad besides the very beginning is at the end when the commercial recommends swapping one snack a week for a Yoplait because it is so good; in my mind this makes the commercial ineffective as the commercial did not feel like it was about Yoplait; it felt more like a commercial for a teen drama show.


"Iams SO GOOD! Dog Food Commercial: Real Love." YouTube. YouTube, 2 June 2013. Web.

23 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Little Tricks: Boyfriend Approval - Yoplait TV Commercial." YouTube. YouTube, 23 Sept.

2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2013. <>.

Stangor, C. (2013). Principles of Social Psychology. New York: Flat World Knowledge Inc.


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    • misty103 profile image

      misty103 3 years ago

      Thanks for the Up vote I really appreciate it!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

      When I was in college (many years ago), my original major was marketing. At the time I thought I wanted to write ad copy--no, I wanted to write ads that would become famous! In an advertising/promotion course I took, one of the requirements was to watch hour after hour of TV commercials and analyze them. I enjoyed that so much that I was constantly on the lookout for both print and TV ads. I think what I liked most was the psychology behind the ad.

      Long story shortened: I changed my major to business administration and had a satisfying career in human resources management. But I'm still interested in the psychology involved in marketing promotion and advertising.

      Voted Up++



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