Cognitive Theory – ‘Bowflex’ and ‘Nissan’ ads

We already talked about Pavlov and his behaviourism theory. Next thing we want to introduce you are persuasion theory – called ‘Cognitive theory’. What’s the difference between behaviourism and cognitive theory? Behaviourism states that we can be stimulated to make change associations. Cognitive approaches, that we are already programmed. In other words, the cognitive theory just rejects behaviourism. (Lisa Fritscher, 2011) Pavlov theory states that advertisement receivers can be active participants in the persuasion process. The Cognitive response model argues that persuasion is not caused directly by messages. We are only persuaded if we have thoughts that we agree with the message. Or that product is relevant to us at the moment. Therefore, persuasive messages create attitude change by encouraging listeners to have positive thoughts. If consumer understands a message, which was sent for him, it means that advertisement was persuasive. If consumers are not interested with products, they will pay attention only for emotional things like colours, music, evolving pictures etc. what means persuasion is not occurring. (Persuasion, no data)
For example, Bowflex, ‘’50 Year Old Grandmother’’ advertisement, which was elected by most persuasive advert by ‘’TopTenz’’. Advertisement basically says that with their program and Bowflex trainer, 50 years old grandmother can still look like 24. That grandmother with a Bowflex help learned to feel comfortable again in her bikini. Truly inspirational! This commercial is more adapted for women. (Steve Straub, no data) On the other hand, young girls or men can be stimulated with electric guitar music, inspirational story or a beautiful landscape. In other words, this advertisement is not persuasive for them to buy Bowflex.

There are main two Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) routes: central and peripheral. When we are motivated, we are more able to pay attention, we take logical and mindful thinking. It is a central route to decision making. It can cause long-term approaches as we elaborate advertisement’s arguments. In other cases, we take the peripheral route. It is based on short-term persuasion cues (mental shortcuts; past experience, attractive/credible source, lots of messages). We do not pay attention to persuasive arguments. (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986)ELM

Adverts that makes us think about the message induces high involvement and it makes a long-lasting attitude change in our minds. Adverts that focuses only on peripheral attention distracts us from the message and cause short-term acceptance. On the other hand, how do we know if we are involved and which route to take if we cannot identify the product?
Usually, those advertisements are post-modernist and assigned to low involvement advertisements. For example, Nissan TV commercial ‘’Enjoy the Ride’’. The advertisement hardly showed the product; instead they focused on the interesting story, compelling views and characters. The campaign was well loved and ranked number one in the category, “Best Advertising of 1996” by “Time” magazine. As a result, in second year Nissan company radically changed their campaign, because of lack of results. Main failures of the campaign were that consumers were more attracted by funny and excited commercial than a car. By the way,  they didn’t show how it looks in commercial at all… (Terra L. Fletcher, no data)

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