In this article, we will look at a few video advertisements that were created in the past year by different brands and analyse the psychological principles they apply as well as look at the effectiveness of the messaging in these advertisements.
An advertisement is a piece of media that is used to promote a product, service, or event. Psychology and advertising have a close-knit relationship. Psychologists aim to study and understand human behaviour and cognition and advertisers can use this understanding of human behaviour to improve their promotion techniques and persuade people to perform the desired actions. Advertisers use many strategies from social psychology to influence and change people’s behaviours to ones that will benefit them.
This advertisement by Pedigree India called #FeedTheStrays shows a young child who wants to feed a stray puppy but his mother refuses to let him go out due to the pandemic. However, on seeing the starving puppy, the mother changes her mind and accompanies her son to feed the stray puppy. They feed an entire litter of stray puppies Pedigree. The advertisement ends by thanking those who have been feeding the strays all this while and calls them heroes. This adverstisement does a great job of appealing to the viewer’s emotion and asking them to empathise and/or sympathise with stray dogs that have to forage for food or starve when no one is feeding them. From a psychological perspective, this can be seen as prosocial behaviour. Prosocial behaviour can be defined as actions performed by individuals that help others mostly with no immediate benefit to themselves. In this advertisement, the act of feeding stray puppies can be seen as a prosocial behaviour as it does not directly benefit them in any way. There are many factors that can contribute to prosocial and these can be compared to those in the advertisement. One main motive for helping others is to reduce the negative feelings we experience when we put ourselves in their shoes and understand their distress. In this advertisement, this is seen when the puppy is whining through the window and the mother can feel its pain. Another motive for prosocial behaviour is empathic joy which is the positive feeling one gets when they help others. This can also be seen in the boy’s reaction after feeding the puppies and he is enjoying their company. These messages of negative feelings and empathic joy are meant to resonate with the audience and nudge them into feeding strays near their homes with Pedigree.
This advertisement shows Prateek Kuhad unboxing a new OnePlus phone and testing out the features with his girlfriend and having fun. Prateek Kuhad is an independent singer-songwriter in India who has recently gained popularity. Using celebrities in advertising is a very common technique that has been used for a long time. This is effective for many reasons. People are likely to care about and follow celebrities’ lives whom they have a positive attitude towards. Therefore, people who enjoy Prateek Kuhad’s music and find his work enjoyable are going to form a positive attitude towards the phone that he is using in the advertisement. Another important persuasion tactic is to use sources of communication that are attractive and likeable. Prateek Kuhad can be seen as an attractive celebrity who is popular with the youth. This makes the audience also feel like using the product will make them attractive and successful like the celebrity. Another important aspect of this advertisement is the casual and fun way it highlights the features of the product. It shows him and his girlfriend using the phone to take photos and videos, search using Google lens and video call. The casual and relatablility of these activities also helps the audience see a part of themselves in the advertisement. The giveaway at the end is also a promotion tactic to get people to want the product even more since it is potentially free. A seasonal advertisement can also attract more as people are more likely to spend during holidays and festivals.
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This advertisement by Burger King is promoting the new chicken whopper and shows people comparing it to a “regular” burger and highlighting the features that make it better. The advertisement depicts people eating the whopper for the first time and enoying it while complimenting it. These people are not celebrities or influencers but rather appear to be regular people whom an average viewer can relate to. Persuasion tactics are more effective when the communicators of the message are reliable. The people in the advertisement can be perceived as reliable simply due to the fact that they appear to be actually eating the burger and enoying it. However, another important factor in persuasion techniques is that messages that are clearly meant to change one’s attitudes or persuade one into changing their behaviour can be less effective than messages that are more subtle. This is called forewarning. This advertisement is clearly trying to convince their viewers how good their new burger is by having people list out th egood features. This can actually prevent people from being persuaded as they can already be resisiting the message, regardless of its content.
This advertisement from Bumble shows two women who are on a date, flirting with each other and having fun. The advertisement also implies that they met through the dating app. This advertisement is very important for positive LGBTQ+ representation. While there is still a lot of discrimination and prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community in India, pieces of media like this advertisement can make a small change and help in combating these prejudices. Children acquire prejudices when they see the people around expressing such views and exhibiting discriminatory behaviours. However, contact or exposure to minority groups can help in countering prejudice as it reduces the “otherness” of the outgroup and can help people recognise the similarities they share with the outgroup. This advertisement, for example, depicts two women as romantic partners without any stereotyping or exoticising. They are represented as two normal people on a date. This kind of casual representation can also help young LGBTQ+ people feel seen and validate their identities. Media representations are so important for people, especially people from minority communities. This advertisement helps normalise same sex relationships and also promotes their app as a safe space for LGBTQ+ people.
This advertisement shows two women who are at a Baggit store and one of them asks the other to avoid buying a red bag as she has a similar bag. The other woman does not listen to her and buys the bag despite her protests. When she points out all the similarities between her bag and the new one the other woman bought, she replies saying that her new bag is made in India unlike hers and that it supports the Indian economy. In this advertisement, Baggit appeals to its audience by highlighting the fact tha it is a homegrown Indian brand that helps the economy and creates jobs. This appeal is made in reference to the viewers’ common-identity group, i.e., their nationality. Common identity groups link us to people through a common trait rather than a personal bond and people can identify strongly with these groups. Patriotism can be seen as a strong feeling of identity in their nationality. This advertisement uses this group to create a sense of belongingness as well as responsibility towards the group. They also create a sense of outgroup by implying that the other woman’s bag is not an Indian product and is also of lower quality than Baggit. By associating strong feelings of patriotism to Baggit bags, they give the customers a sense of pride in purchasing the bags.
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Baron, R., & Branscombe, N. (2017). Social psychology (14th ed.). Boston: Pearson.